the steins collect + midnight in paris

over memorial day weekend, we saw the steins collect | matisse, picasso, and the parisian avant-garde, an art exhibit at the san francisco museum of modern art (sfmoma).  followed by midnight in paris, the new woody allen film.  (a rare occurrence for my husband, bob, who prefers live entertainment.)

surprisingly, the film and the art exhibit are related.

midnight in paris

midnight in paris | written and directed by woody allen | 2011

the steins collect:  matisse, picasso, and the parisian avant-garde

san francisco museum of modern art (sfmoma) | san francisco, CA | may 21-september 6, 2011

grand palais | paris, france | october 3, 2011-january 20, 2012

metropolitan museum of art | new york, NY | february 21-june 3, 2012

photo credits imdb and sfmoma

the steins collect reunites approximately 200 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and illustrated books collected by writer gertrude stein (1874-1946) and her family in paris during the early 20th century.  the steins became important patrons of avant-garde artists, particularly pablo picasso (1881-1973) and henri matisse (1869-1954).  the steins were known for their saturday evening salons, where artists, writers, musicians, intellectuals, and collectors gathered to discuss contemporary art, culture, and ideas.  the stein salons have even been described as ‘the first museum of modern art’!

midnight in paris transports you to the stein salons in paris during the 1920’s.  in one scene, gertrude stein (played by kathy bates), is seated in the salon of her residence at 27 rue des fleures in front of the picasso portrait of gertrude stein from the exhibition.


man ray | gertrude stein in her salon writing | black and white photograph | 1920

beinecke library | yale university | new haven, CT

photo by beinecke library | yale university

pablo picasso | gertrude stein | oil on canvas | 1905-1906

metropolitan museum of art | new york, NY

photo credit

gertrude stein|kathy bates|the art of film

gertrude stein (played by kathy bates) | midnight in paris

photo credit sonyclassics

stein and picasso (played by argentinian actor, marical di fonzo bo) are discussing a (faux) portrait of picasso’s (fictional) mistress, adriana (played by marion cotillard).

stein picasso

picasso painting

faux picasso

gertrude stein (played by kathy bates) and pablo picasso (played by marical di fonzo bo) | midnight in paris

pablo picasso (played by marical di fonzo bo) with a (faux) portrait of his (fictional) mistress | midnight in paris

(faux) picasso portrait | midnight in paris

photo credits sonyclassics, sonyclassics and maupes

in another scene, stein and matisse (played by french actor, yves-antoine spoto) are negotiating the purchase of a painting.  for 500 francs!

henri matisse | woman with a hat | oil on canvas | 1905

san francisco museum of modern art (sfmoma) | san francisco, CA

photo credit ben blackwell

the midnight in paris cast of characters also includes gertrude stein’s brother, leo stein (1872-1947), her partner, alice b. toklas (1877-1967) (who answers the front door), and other avant-garde artists, writers, or musicians who could have frequented the stein salons in paris during the 1920’s.

cameo appearances include:

artist salvatore dali (played by adrien brody)

photographer man ray (played by tom cordier)

writer ernest hemingway (played by corey stoll)

writer f. scott fitzgerald and zelda fitzgerald (played by tom hiddleston and alison pill)

writer t.s. eliott (played by david lowe)

filmmaker luis bunuel (played by adrien de van)

and, musician cole porter (played by yves heck)

the chronology isn’t always art historically accurate.  but, midnight in paris is a woody allen film, so being in the right place, doing the right thing, at the wrong time just becomes part of the fantasy.

maybe you will enjoy this unexpected combination of art and entertainment as much as we did!

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