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 Powerful images cause accuracy to be superseded, and stylized portrayals to become reified.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: 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.
|↑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)|