Art, Art Museums, Museum Exhibitions, Women in Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Acknowledges Gertrude Stein’s Collaboration with the Nazis

In early March, we published an entry extolling the magnificent exhibition of the Stein collection currently on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (“The Steins Collect”).

One glaring omission in the Met’s curating of the exhibition was how the collection managed to survive the Nazis’ decimation of Europe’s art collections, particularly those belonging to Jewish families, when those of virtually all the other Jews were taken by force, and their owners shipped off to death camps.

How could the famous art collection of Gertrude Stein (and her two brothers) survive the Nazi occupation of France? For that matter, how did a gay Jew (Gertrude) from Baltimore avoid being sent to a concentration camp?  While the Vichy government rounded up thousands of Jews in Paris, sending them first to the internment camp of Drancy and from there to the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, were safely sequestered in the Alps.

It helped, surely, that Stein nominated Adolf Hitler for the Nobel Peace Price in 1938. Or that, four years earlier, she told the New York Times, “I say that Hitler ought to have the peace prize, because he is removing all the elements of contest and of struggle from Germany. By driving out the Jews and the democratic and Left element, he is driving out everything that conduces to activity. That means peace … By suppressing Jews … he was ending struggle in Germany.” And that among her greatest supporters in Occupied France was Bernard Faÿ, the influential head of the Bibliothèque Nationale and an avowed anti-Semite.

That changed, following several days of outcry by New York political leaders like Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Brooklyn City Councilman Dov Hikind, who is an Orthodox Jew and who told the radio station 1010 WINS,

“The public has a right to know. Transparency is extremely important; historic accountability is important. Gertrude Stein was a miserable person who collaborated with the Nazis.”

The Metropolitan has now added information to its exhibition exploring how and why the Steins’ art collection survived World War II.

A number of periodicals have published elucidations of Gertrude’s treachery, among them:

The New Yorker
Jewish World Review
The New York Daily News

.

elliottingotham’s entry of March 2, 2002:

I attended a members’ preview of this memorable exhibition on Sunday, February 26. I think it is one of the most beautifully-curated exhibits the Met has ever produced. The Steins were an extraordinary and visionary family of collectors. Living in Paris at the very dawn of the 20th century, they collected works by artists now held to be among the greatest in art history, but who at the time were not only little-known, but deemed to be of questionable talent.  These included Henri ManguinPierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Paul CézannePierre-Auguste Renoir, Honoré Daumier, Henri Matisse, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Gertrude and Leo’s home on the Rue de Fleurus became a mecca for these artists, and their growing circle of admirers. Here follows metmuseum.org’s by-line for their exhibition “The Steins Collect”.

Gertrude Stein, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael’s wife Sarah were important patrons of modern art in Paris during the first decades of the twentieth century. This exhibition unites some two hundred works of art to demonstrate the significant impact the Steins’ patronage had on the artists of their day and the way in which the family disseminated a new standard of taste for modern art. The Steins’ Saturday evening salons introduced a generation of visitors to recent developments in art, particularly the work of their close friends Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, long before it was on view in museums.

Beginning with the art that Leo Stein collected when he arrived in Paris in 1903—including paintings and prints by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Édouard Manet, and Auguste Renoir—the exhibition traces the evolution of the Steins’ taste and examines the close relationships formed between individual members of the family and their artist friends. While focusing on works by Matisse and Picasso, the exhibition also includes paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Juan Gris, Marie Laurencin, Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Manguin, André Masson, Elie Nadelman, Francis Picabia, and others.

Accompanied by a catalogue and an Audio Guide


The exhibition is made possible by The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and the Janice H. Levin Fund.
Additional support provided by The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation.
The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais, Paris.
It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/steins-collect/

© 2000–2012 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “The Metropolitan Museum of Art Acknowledges Gertrude Stein’s Collaboration with the Nazis

  1. Dear ,
    It is a wonderfull exhibition .

    And what a pleasure to see the portrait of Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira .Beside Tchelitchew and Balthus .

    And also the Preface Gertrude Stein wrote for his first exhibition in the Galerie Roquepine in Paris on 1945 .
    Where we can read Gertrude Stein writing Riba-Rovira “will go farther than Cezanne…will succeed in where Picasso failed…I am fascinated ” by Riba-Rovira Gertrude Stein tells us .

    And you are you also fascinated indeed as Gertrude Stein ?

    But Gertrude Stein spoke also in this same document about Matisse and Juan Gris .And we learn Riba-Rovira went each week in Gertrude Stein’s saloon rue Christine .
    With Edward Burns and Carl Van Vechten we can know Riba-Rovira did others portraits of Gertrude Stein .

    But we do not know where they are ;and you do you know perhaps ?

    With this wonderful portrait we do not forget it is the last time Gertrude Stein sat for an artist who is Riba-Rovira .

    This exhibition presents us a world success with this last painting portrait before she died .

    Both ,it is one of the last text where she gives her last art vision .As a light over that exhibition now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York .

    Coming from San Francisco “Seeing five stories” to Washington and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York for our pleasure .

    And the must is to see for the first time in the same place portraits by Picasso, Picabia, Tall-Coat, Riba-Rovira, Valloton .

    You have the translate of Gertrude Stein’s Riba-Rovira Preface on english Gertrude Stein’s page on Wikipedia and in the catalog of this exhibition you can see in first place the mention of this portrait .And also other pictures Gertrude Stein bought him .

    And you have another place where you can see now Riba-Rovira’s works it is an exhibition in Valencia in Spain “Homenage a Gertrude Stein” by Riba-Rovira in Galleria Muro ,if you like art …

    Cesera

    Posted by mabonnetoile | March 26, 2012, 4:36 pm
    • Thank you for this wonderful comment focusing on Francesc. Many have noted with great excitement the appearance of his portrait of Gertrude in this exhibition. And thank you for directing us to Gertrude’s mention of it in the Wikipedia piece.

      Very best wishes! Elliott

      Posted by elliottingotham | March 26, 2012, 5:14 pm
    • Dear  ,
      they are right looking for the historic truth about Gertrude Stein in this however wonderfull exhibition,”The Steins Collect;Matisse,Picasso,Cezanne and the Parisian Avant Garde” in NewYork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art .

      Because what a pleasure to see the portrait of Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira .Who was as Picasso an antifascist and antinazi artist .Persecuted by Franco and the Nazis .
      But who is in this exhibition ,thanks to Rebecca Rabinow and Edward Burns, perhaps the only one artist would fought them weapons in his hands .Whose father was in jail after the spanish civil war .So Riba-Rovira is beside Tchelitchew and Balthus and Francis Rose near Picabia and Picasso in the last room of this exhibition with Cézanne, Matisse .

      And you have an interesting article in Appollo London Revew about him .And also in Artes Magazine from San Francisco where the exhibition was before .

      But the main document as a revelation is with the mention beside the picture with the Preface Gertrude Stein wrote for first Riba-Rovira’s exhibition in the Galerie Roquepine in Paris on 1945 .
      Where we can read Gertrude Stein writing Riba-Rovira “will go farther than Cezanne…will succeed in where Picasso failed…I am fascinated ” by Riba-Rovira Gertrude Stein tells us .

      And you are you also fascinated indeed as Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira ?

      Me I am when I see « L’Arlequin » on the free access website of « Galeria Muro ».

      But Gertrude Stein spoke also in this same document about Matisse and  Juan Gris .
      Riba-Rovira went each week in Gertrude Stein’s saloon rue Christine with Masson ,Hemingway and others. By Edward Burns and Carl Van Vechten we can know Riba-Rovira did others portraits of Gertrude Stein .

      But we do not know where they are ;and you do you know perhaps ?

      With this wonderful portrait we do not forget it is the last time Gertrude Stein sat for an artist who is Riba-Rovira .
      This exhibition presents us a world success with this last painting portrait before she died .And her last Gertrude Stein’s Art Retrospective before dead .

      It illuminates the tone as an esthetic light over that exhibition now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York thanks to Curator Rebecca Rabinow .

      Coming from San Francisco “Seeing five stories” in the Jewish museum to Washington in National Portrait Gallery .And now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York for our pleasure .

      And the must is to see for the first time in the same place portraits by Picasso, Picabia, Riba-Rovira, Rose ,Tall-Coat, Valloton .Never before it was .

      You have the translate of Gertrude Stein’s Riba-Rovira Preface on english Gertrude Stein’s page on Wikipedia and in the catalog of this Roquepine exhibition you can see in first place the mention of this portrait .And also other pictures Gertrude Stein bought to Riba-Rovira .
      There is another place where you can see now Riba-Rovira’s works in an exhibition in Valencia in Spain “Homenage a Gertrude Stein” by Riba-Rovira in Galleria Muro ,if you like art …

      But we do not missed today that all over Europe a very bad wind is blowing again bringing the worth in front of us . And we must know that at least were two antinazis and antifascists in this exhibition but the only one fighting weapons in hands would be Riba-Rovira who did one of the first three « affiches » supporting Republicans in the beguining Spanish civil war .

      Seeing Potrait of Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira in the Metropolitain Museum of New York with Picasso ,Cézanne ,
      Matisse we feel a recreation of spirit .

      Posted by mabonnetoile | May 15, 2012, 2:13 pm

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