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Modern and Contemporary Art
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Jacques Lipchitz, French, born Russia (Lithuania), 1891–1973
Subject: Gertrude Stein, American, 1874–1946

Portrait of Gertrude Stein



34.3 × 20.3 × 25 cm (13 1/2 × 8 × 9 13/16 in.)
Gift of Curt Valentin

The American writer and collector Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) met the Lithuanian sculptor Jacques Lipchitz in 1920 in Paris. The young man asked Stein, by then already a famous writer, to sit for him. Stein was a patron for many artists living in Paris such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Francis Picabia. Not only did she buy works by these artists, but she also occasionally modeled for them. With her unique physiognomy and characteristic hair style—for decades she bound her long hair in a chignon, before cropping it extremely short— she became a source of inspiration for artists of the School of Paris, including Lipchitz, who would take her physical appearance as a starting point for formal research. In this bronze sculpture, Lipchitz focuses on the volumes and lines, highly simplifying the features of his sitter while at the same time creating an extremely recognizable image of Stein.

Made in Paris, France
French, Lithuanian
20th century
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.