Pavel Fyodorovitch Tchelitchew, 21 Sep 1898 - 31 Jul 1957
Gertrude Stein, 3 Feb 1874 - 27 Jul 1946
Pen, brush and sepia on paper
Image: 44.5 x 27.6cm (17 1/2 x 10 7/8")
Owner: William Kelly Simpson
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Pavel Tchelitchew, a Russian painter living in Paris, made a series of drawings of Stein as a portly and despotic Roman emperor. He dramatized her girth, put her in a tunic and toga, and pictured her Caesarian head as if it were separate from her body. His metaphor of decapitation vividly captures what he took to be her tyrannical power to make and break artists’ careers. In one drawing, he placed her right hand over a globe, the world of art. Tchelitchew was angry with Stein because, after visiting his studio, buying his work, calling him the leader of the neoromantics, and entertaining him and his partner at her summer home, she had dropped him. It took the artist years to get over his hurt, but in 1951, five years after her death, he gave a lecture at Yale about her importance in the history of modern art.