I Had the Syrup But It Wouldn’t Pour

Gertrude Stein? Alice B. Toklas? Glenway Wescott? William Styron? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Whenever I experience difficulty in a creative endeavor like writing or drawing I am reminded of the following expression:

I have the syrup, but it won’t pour.

The prize-winning author William Styron said something similar to this. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1933 prominent novelist and art collector Gertrude Stein published “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”. Stein’s book adopted the viewpoint and voice of her friend and life partner Toklas, but Stein was the ultimate author. The work briefly remarked on two contemporary authors. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1933, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, Chapter 7: After the War 1919-1932, Quote Page 269, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York. (Verified with scans)

Then there was McAlmon. McAlmon had one quality that appealed to Gertrude Stein, abundance, he could go on writing, but she complained that it was dull.

There was also Glenway Wescott but Glenway Wescott at no time interested Gertrude Stein. He has a certain syrup but it does not pour.

In 1979 William Styron published “Sophie’s Choice”, and a character in the novel referred back to Stein’s words while describing his difficulties:
[2] 1979, Sophie’s Choice by William Styron, Chapter 1, Quote Page 3, Jonathan Cape, London. (Verified with scans)

It was not that I no longer wanted to write, I still yearned passionately to produce the novel which had been for so long captive in my brain. It was only that, having written down the first few fine paragraphs, I could not produce any others, or—to approximate Gertrude Stein’s remark about a lesser writer of the Lost Generation—I had the syrup but it wouldn’t pour. To make matters worse, I was out of a job and had very little money and was self-exiled to Flatbush . . .

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Had the Syrup But It Wouldn’t Pour

References

References
1 1933, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, Chapter 7: After the War 1919-1932, Quote Page 269, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York. (Verified with scans)
2 1979, Sophie’s Choice by William Styron, Chapter 1, Quote Page 3, Jonathan Cape, London. (Verified with scans)

I Do Not Paint a Portrait To Look Like the Subject. Rather Does the Person Grow To Look Like His Portrait

Salvador Dali? Pablo Picasso? Gertrude Stein? Alice B. Toklas? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A self-assured painter once suggested that one should never deliberately create a portrait to look precisely like its subject. Instead, the brilliance of the artwork would cause the subject to grow to look like the portrait over time. Would you please help me to determine the identity of this painter and to locate a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1943 the Knoedler Galleries of New York presented an exhibition of portraits by the prominent Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. While commenting about the event Dalí expressed a viewpoint similar to the one above. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1943 April 26, Newsweek, Volume 21, Issue 17, Section: Art, Article: ‘Rapport of Fatality’, Quote Page 82, Column 1, Newsweek Publishing, New York. (ProQuest)

“My aim,” says Dali of these likenesses of wealthy heiresses and glamor women of the international set, “was to establish a rapport of fatality between each of the different personalities and their backgrounds. I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject. Rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Do Not Paint a Portrait To Look Like the Subject. Rather Does the Person Grow To Look Like His Portrait

References

References
1 1943 April 26, Newsweek, Volume 21, Issue 17, Section: Art, Article: ‘Rapport of Fatality’, Quote Page 82, Column 1, Newsweek Publishing, New York. (ProQuest)

Everybody Says That She Does Not Look Like It, But That Does Not Make Any Difference. She Will

Pablo Picasso? Gertrude Stein? Alice B. Toklas? Salvador Dali? Glenn Ligon? Arianna Huffington? David Mamet? Clifford Gessler? Michael Schulman? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Depictions of people in paintings, photographs, books, and movies can dramatically change cultural perceptions. Powerful images cause accuracy to be superseded, and stylized portrayals to become reified.

Near the beginning of the twentieth century the famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso painted a portrait of the prominent writer and art collector Gertrude Stein. Several viewers of the artwork complained that the image was inaccurate. Picasso confidently and astutely replied with a remark similar to this:

It may not look like Gertrude Stein now, but it will.

Is this anecdote correct? Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1933 Gertrude Stein published “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”. Stein wrote the book using the viewpoint and voice of her friend and life partner Toklas. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1933, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, Chapter 2: My Arrival in Paris, Quote Page 14, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York. (Verified with scans)

After a little while I murmured to Picasso that I liked his portrait of Gertrude Stein. Yes, he said, everybody says that she does not look like it but that does not make any difference, she will, he said.

Creating the portrait was a slow process for Picasso; he painted it during several months in 1905 and 1906. Toklas arrived in Paris in 1907, and Picasso spoke the line while visiting with Toklas and others in Stein’s art-filled home in Paris.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Everybody Says That She Does Not Look Like It, But That Does Not Make Any Difference. She Will

References

References
1 1933, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, Chapter 2: My Arrival in Paris, Quote Page 14, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York. (Verified with scans)

Whoever Said Money Can’t Buy Happiness Didn’t Know Where To Shop

Gertrude Stein? Joanna Lee? Fred Neher? Kate Osann? George Gobel? Bo Derek? John E. Gibson? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Twisting timeworn adages produces new comical sayings. Altering a hoary remark about wealth and happiness yields a maxim for shopaholics:

Anyone who says money doesn’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop.

The prominent literary figure Gertrude Stein has received credit for this saying. Is this attribution accurate?

Quote Investigator: QI has been unable to find substantive evidence to support the ascription to Gertrude Stein who died in 1946. The linkage may have been established by a misreading of the text in the 1987 citation presented further below.

The earliest match known to QI occurred in an episode titled “All About Eva” from the third season of the television series “Gilligan’s Island”. The episode was written by Joanna Lee and first broadcast on December 12, 1966 according to the Gilligan’s Island Wiki on the Fandom website.[1]Website: Fandom – Gilligan’s Island Wiki, Season 3, Episode 14: All About Eva, Air Date on Website: December 12, 1966, Episode Writer: Joanna Lee, Website description: Information about … Continue reading QI watched the episode and verified the following dialog. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:[2]Dailymotion video, Title: Gilligan’s Island All About Eva S03E14, Uploaded May 2018, (Quotation starts at 10 minutes 13 seconds of 25 minutes 16 seconds). Description: This video is an episode … Continue reading

Professor (Russell Johnson): “Well, I’m sorry folks, but money can’t buy happiness!”

Mrs. Howell (Natalie Schafer): “Anyone who says money can’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Whoever Said Money Can’t Buy Happiness Didn’t Know Where To Shop

References

References
1 Website: Fandom – Gilligan’s Island Wiki, Season 3, Episode 14: All About Eva, Air Date on Website: December 12, 1966, Episode Writer: Joanna Lee, Website description: Information about Gilligan’s Island. (Accessed gilligan.fandom.com on January 25, 2019) link
2 Dailymotion video, Title: Gilligan’s Island All About Eva S03E14, Uploaded May 2018, (Quotation starts at 10 minutes 13 seconds of 25 minutes 16 seconds). Description: This video is an episode of “Gilligan’s Island” called “All About Eva”. (Accessed on dailymotion.com on January 25, 2019)