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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (11)  | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (4)

Born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA
Died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France  (cancer)
Nickname The Mother Goose of Montparnasse
Height 5' 1" (1.55 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Gertrude Stein was the fifth child in the Daniel and Amelia Stein family. She grew up in a trilingual environment, spending her childhood in Vienna and Paris, then living in California. She graduated from Radcliffe College and went to the Medical School at Johns Hopkins University for 2 years. She continued her medical studies in Europe, but traveling and writing eventually took over. Her first novel "Q.E.D." was written in New York, but was published only after her death under the title "Things As They Are".

Gertrude Stein lived in Paris for 40 years, becoming a patron of artists Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, and others. She amassed an enormous collection of art, that is now displayed in major museums. Her 1906 portrait by Pablo Picasso was finished after more than 50 sittings. She experimented with stream-of-consciousness in her own deconstructive style, and by using words as rhythmical brush-strokes. She was called a "literary cubist", being compared to the cubist artists for her ability of projecting reality beyond reality. Her literary secretary, Alice B. Toklas, was a lifetime companion. They traveled in Spain together, while Stein worked on the book "Tender Buttons" (1914). During WWI Stein was driving her Ford and helping the wounded soldiers. She and Alice were both honored for this work.

After WWI Gertrude Stein became the center of the American expatriate community in Paris. She was the catalyst in the development of modern artists and writers. Her home was the meeting place for such artists and writers, as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Thornton Wilder and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ernest Hemingway confessed on meeting Stein..."It was a vital day for me when I stumbled upon you." She was credited for dubbing them as "The Lost Generation".

"The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas" (1933) became a best seller and turned Stein into a celebrity. Her lecture tour of the United States was a great success, and she was praised by Thornton Wilder, Sherwood Anderson, and Charles Chaplin. Back in Paris she went through changes of moving to a new apartment, and soon moving out of Paris before the Nazi occupation in WWII. Gertrude Stein and Alice, being both Jewish, barely escaped a concentration camp, protected by their French neighbors. They returned to Paris in 1944 and found the precious art collection untouched.

Her health declined and she was diagnosed with colon cancer. When rushed into emergency surgery her last words to Alice were: "What is the answer?" ...without a reply, "In that case...what is the question?"

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Trivia (11)

Attended Radcliffe College (then the woman's annex of Harvard University) from 1893 to 1897, and then two years at Johns Hopkins Medical School, where she failed two courses and left without a degree, citing boredom.
When she was three years old her parents moved the family to Vienna, Austria, then to Paris, France. They moved back to California when she was four years old (1878), settling in Oakland, where she attended school until 1891, when she was 17 and her father died.
Was an early patron of experimental painting.
Was of German-Jewish ancestry.
She sarcastically advocated awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Adolf Hitler " . . . 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 . . . " (New York Times Magazine, May 6, 1934).
Long-time companion of Alice B. Toklas, who she met in 1907. They stayed together until Gertrude's death in 1946.
Godmother of Jack Hemingway.
Was a longtime friend of Ernest Hemingway, who wrote about her salon (a regular gathering of people, generally intellectuals or cultural icons, held for their mutual amusement to discuss culture, current affairs, increase the knowledge and refine the tastes of the participants, and often to bask in their own glow) in his memoir of his life in France, "A Moveable Feast".
Her older brother Leo Stein moved to London in 1902, and she followed a few months later. They moved together to Paris in 1903, where they settled on the Left Bank, and shared a house and collected art together until 1914.
Coined the popular phrases "A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" and "There is no there there" (said in reply to a friend talking about Oakland, CA, who said, "I'm going there").
Portrayed by Kathy Bates in Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris (2011).

Personal Quotes (5)

Money is always there but the pockets change; it is not in the same pockets after a change, and that is all there is to say about money.
[on personal power] Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is frightening.
[on success] Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.
[on imagination] It takes a lot of time being a genius--you have to sit around so much doing nothing.
We are always the same age inside.

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