Originally published in 1930 in an edition of one hundred copies, Gertrude Stein’s Dix Portraits pairs her singular literary style with original lithographs by Pablo Picasso and other artists in Stein’s circle to create an exceptional artist book exploring written and visual portraiture.
Written between 1913 and 1929, revolutionary years in art history, Dix Portraits conveys the deep human engagement between an artist and her subject. The artist book unites Stein’s ten portraits in prose with sketches by five artists: Pablo Picasso, Christian Bérard, Eugene Berman, Pavel Tchelitchew, and Kristians Tonny. Utilizing the interplay between word and image, Stein’s writing and the artists’ images provide nuance and depth, balancing humor and sincerity.
With a new introduction by the writer Lynne Tillman, Dix Portraits is an unforgettable artistic collaboration. The subjects represented include Guillaume Apollinaire, Christian Bérard, Eugene Berman, Bernard Faÿ, Georges Hugnet, Pablo Picasso, Erik Satie, Pavel Tchelitchew, Virgil Thomson, and Kristians Tonny. Originally printed in an edition of one hundred copies with the lithography, and now widely accessible for the first time, Dix Portraits captures Stein’s legacy as a champion of artists and a pioneer of creativity.
The American writer Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) was a major figure in the avant-garde visual arts and literary spheres in the period between World Wars I and II. Stein moved in 1903 to Paris, where she met Alice B. Toklas, who would remain her companion for forty years. Their home in Paris functioned as a salon for many now celebrated writers and artists, who became close acquaintances. Stein is recognized for coining the term the “Lost Generation” to describe American authors living abroad, including Ernest Hemingway and Sherwood Anderson. She and her brother Leo were among the first collectors, patrons, and supporters of many modern and cubist artists, including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Henri Matisse. Her own work shares the goals of that of her contemporaries––for example, similar to cubist works, her writing shows a proclivity for simplification, repetition, and fragmentation. Revered and feared for both her literary and artistic expertise, Stein has, in no small part, shaped how we understand and appreciate modernism today. Stein’s best-known books include The Making of Americans (1925), How to Write (1931), and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), as well as her poetry collection Stanzas in Meditation and Other Poems [1929–1933] (1956).