A few days ago I wrote a post about the literary Salons of yesteryear’s Paris. This is an intriguing look at one of the American salonnière of the early 20th century, Gertrude Stein, as an expat in Paris, a writer and a literary influence.

Carto's Library

Alice B. Toklas was 29 years old in 1908 when she left her home in San Francisco for Paris. She met Gertrude Stein the day she arrived in Paris and the star struck Toklas was moved to write:

“She was a golden brown presence, burned by the Tuscan sun and with a golden glint in her warm brown hair. She was dressed in a warm brown corduroy suit. She wore a large round coral brooch and when she talked, very little, or laughed, a good deal, I thought her voice came from this brooch. It was unlike anyone else’s voice– deep, full, velvety, like a great contralto’s, like two voices.”

It must have been love at first sight. Pablo Picasso had his own ideas for Stein; this famous portrait was painted in 1907, the year before Toklas arrived in Paris.

Picasso’s portrait of Stein recently came to the San Francisco…

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