born 1874

American expat author Gertrude Stein lived at the forefront of a turn-of-the-century artistic vanguard. Running a literary salon from the Paris apartment she shared with secretary, partner + muse Alice B. Toklas, the two visionaries kept company with everyone from Pablo Picasso to Ernest Hemingway. Their home was a gallery of up-and-coming artists whose careers they helped launch.

As a writer, Gertrude brought novel expression to poems, plays, essays, novels and even operas. The former psych student had an utterly signature style akin to abstract art. Her originality made it difficult to get her work into print at first. But, in the end, it secured her place in literary history.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Gertrude Stein (8)

"I am reasonable because I know the difference between understanding and not understanding and I am just because I have no opinion about things I don’t understand."

Q.E.D. | january 1903

"Let me recite what history teaches. History teaches."

If I Told Him | january 1906

"If every one were not so indolent they would realize that beauty is beauty even when it is irritating and stimulating not only when it is accepted and classic."

Composition as Explanation | january 1925

"The creator of the new composition in the arts is an outlaw until he is a classic."

Composition as Explanation | january 1925

"More and more then every one comes to be clear to some one."

The Making of Americans | january 1925

"You are extraordinary within your limits but your limits are extraordinarily there."

Everybody's Autobiography | january 1937

"Don't worry about your roots so long as you worry about them. The essential thing is to have the feeling that they exist, that they are somewhere . . . To think only of going back for them is to confess that the plant is dying."

A Conversation with Gertrude Stein | january 1952

"If you knew it all, it would not be creation but dictation."

A Conversation with Gertrude Stein | january 1952
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curated with care by Alicia Williamson