Henri Matisse - Gertrude Stein, Académie Matisse, and The Cone Sisters

Gertrude Stein, Académie Matisse, and The Cone Sisters

Around April 1906 he met Pablo Picasso, who was 12 years younger than Matisse. The two became lifelong friends as well as rivals and are often compared; one key difference between them is that Matisse drew and painted from nature, while Picasso was much more inclined to work from imagination. The subjects painted most frequently by both artists were women and still life, with Matisse more likely to place his figures in fully realized interiors. Matisse and Picasso were first brought together at the Paris salon of Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas. During the first decade of the 20th century, Americans in Paris— Gertrude Stein, her brothers Leo Stein, Michael Stein and Michael's wife Sarah—were important collectors and supporters of Matisse's paintings. In addition Gertrude Stein's two American friends from Baltimore, the Cone sisters Claribel and Etta, became major patrons of Matisse and Picasso, collecting hundreds of their paintings. The Cone collection is now exhibited in the Baltimore Museum of Art.

While numerous artists visited the Stein salon, many of these artists were not represented among the paintings on the walls at 27 Rue de Fleurus. Where Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso's works dominated Leo and Gertrude Stein's collection, Sarah Stein's collection emphasized Matisse.

Contemporaries of Leo and Gertrude Stein, Matisse and Picasso became part of their social circle and routinely joined the gatherings that took place on Saturday evenings at 27 Rue de Fleurus. Gertrude attributed the beginnings of the Saturday evening salons to Matisse, remarking:

More and more frequently, people began visiting to see the Matisse paintings—and the Cézannes: "Matisse brought people, everybody brought somebody, and they came at any time and it began to be a nuisance, and it was in this way that Saturday evenings began."

Among Pablo Picasso's acquaintances who also frequented the Saturday evenings were: Fernande Olivier (Picasso's mistress), Georges Braque, André Derain, the poets Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, Marie Laurencin (Apollinaire's mistress and an artist in her own right), and Henri Rousseau.

His friends organized and financed the Académie Matisse in Paris, a private and non-commercial school in which Matisse instructed young artists. It operated from 1907 until 1911. Hans Purrmann and Sarah Stein were amongst several of his most loyal students.

Matisse spent seven months in Morocco from 1912 to 1913, producing about 24 paintings and numerous drawings. His frequent orientalist topics of later paintings, such as odalisques, can be traced to this period.

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