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Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein & Company

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When it comes to Gertrude Stein and Company, we all curse our bad luck in being born too late to be part of the astonishing artistic revolution in modernism that took place in the years 1900–14 and whose nerve center was the salon at 27 Rue de Fleurus, presided over by two California Jews. Reading about it is like leafing through a wellthumbed album of our cultural and artistic beginnings; we shake our heads in wonder and disbelief at the profligate riches of a Golden Age. There they are: Picasso in his monkey suit, with his piercing black eyes, looking like a satyr; Matisse, the very model of an imposing middle‐class Frenchman; Marie Laurencin and Apollinaire; the art dealers — Kahnweiler, Vollard and Sagot; the bit players, go‐betweens like H. P. Roché, author of “Jules and Jim,” who knew everybody in Paris and introduced the Steins to Picasso; and later on (in the twenties) Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Sherwood Anderson.

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