The Steins Collect

Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde

Edited by Janet Bishop, Cécile Debray, and Rebecca Rabinow; Essays by Isabel Alfandary, Janet Bishop, Emily Braun, Edward Burns, Cécile Debray, Claudine Grammont, Martha Lucy, Carrie Pilto, Rebecca Rabinow, Hélène Klein, and Gary Tinterow

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A fascinating, in-depth exploration of the groundbreaking art collections of Gertrude Stein and her family

As American expatriates living in Paris, the writer Gertrude Stein, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael's wife Sarah were absolutely pivotal in shaping the city's vibrant cultural life in the early 20th century. They hosted Saturday evening salons at which the brightest artists, writers, musicians, and collectors convened to discuss the latest developments. They aggressively promoted and collected emerging painters and sculptors, particularly their close friends Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. And along the way they developed unparalleled holdings in modernist work by such figures as Paul Cézanne, Juan Gris, Francis Picabia, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Lavishly produced and featuring more than 600 images, The Steins Collect is the first comprehensive exploration of the Steins' extraordinary collections and their enduring cultural influence.

The book explores the Steins' impact on art-making and collecting practices in Europe and the United States; the intense sibling rivalries that developed around key artists and ideas; the roots of Leo's aesthetic theories in the thought of William James and Bernard Berenson; Sarah and Michael's role in founding the Académie Matisse; Gertrude's complex relationship with Picasso and their artistic influence on each other; Le Corbusier's radical villa design for the family; and much more. The Steins Collect not only reveals the artistic prescience of this innovative family and their important patronage, but also traces how they created a new international standard of taste for modern art.

Janet Bishop is curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Cécile Debray is curator of historical collections at the Museé National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris. Rebecca Rabinow is associate curator of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (05/21/11-09/06/11)

Grand Palais, Paris (10/03/11-01/20/12)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (02/21/12-06/03/12)

“Lavishly illustrated…. an essential document for any scholar of Modernism and the Steins.” —The Sacramento Bee

"This bulging blockbuster (with more than two hundred works by some forty artists, plus documentation of all types) is devoted to the collections and personalities of the Stein siblings . . . The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde and its sizable catalogue admirably give each family member his or her due, offering a renewed appreciation for Leo, Michael, and Sarah."—Robert Pincus-Witten, ArtForum

“… [A] magnificent, revealing volume.”—Jackie Wullschlager, The Financial Times (Christmas Books)

"This exhibition catalogue is handsome, definitive, and rich with material. . . . deeply critical to future studies of the Steins and the early-20th-century Parisian avant-garde."—J. Decker, Choice

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the Fine Arts category.

Winner of the 2012 Robert Motherwell Book Award given by the Dedalus Foundation

Winner of the Awards for Excellence in 2011 by the Association of Art Museum Curators in the Outstanding Thematic Exhibition category
ISBN: 9780300169416
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
492 pages, 10 x 11 1/2
400 color + 220 b/w illus.
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