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Paris Portraits: Stories of Picasso, Matisse, Gertrude Stein, and Their Circle
In 1906, Harriet Levy was talked into moving to Paris by her friend Alice B. Toklas and suddenly found herself immersed in a strange world peopled by artists who spoke a language she could not understand--a colorful world that she could only remotely observe in black and white.
Paris Portraits is a short masterpiece. This sparkling manuscript, long hidden in the archives of...more
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Heyday
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(showing 1-30 of 61)
Jul 28, 2012 Jesse rated it 3 of 5 stars
A diverting, nicely observed little read. Levy takes on this quality that sometimes comes off as a bit faux-naïf, as I got the impression that her observations cover, just barely, a layer of subtle wit and more than a bit of satire (take the deliciously veiled b*tch-slap of a closing line: "I never get the chance to read [Stein] my story and left Paris eventually enriched only by the knowledge that Gertrude Stein was now great in France"). Throughout Portraits she constantly downplays her intell ...more
Harriet Lane Levy went to Paris for a visit with her friend, Alice B. Toklas. She and Alice were friends with Sarah Samuels who married Michael Stein, brother to Gertrude and Leo Stein. This book was published from manuscripts that Harriet left giving fascinating vignettes of her time in the company of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, George Braque, Guillaume Apollinaire and of course, the larger than life, Gertrude Stein. What I like about these lovely word sketches is their very d ...more
Harriet Lane Levy was the young Jewish woman from San Francisco who traveled with her friend Alice B. Toklas to Paris on the fateful journey where Alice met Gertrude...and the rest is history. Harriet may have been left in the lurch, but she has some keen observations about the Steins (the whole family intimidated her), Gertrude's writing (she found it absurd, and thought those who praised it were just doing it to curry favor), and Matisse (on a whim and a stroke of luck she got The Girl with th ...more
A nice easy read. Short and direct. An interesting view of the Steins and Picasso, which I haven't read before. I like Levy's straightforward writing, and that she seems to never overstate her role in the group or her own intelligence, perhaps she understated it, perhaps on purpose. Levy, herself, seemed like quite an interesting character - sharp and critical. I was very intrigued by, what she called her, 'imperviousness' to her experiences. It is something I thought I could relate to and cause ...more