While in Pittsburgh this past weekend for the holiday, I stopped by one of my favorite city neighborhoods, Allegheny West. While on my favorite street I took a picture of this rather non-descript townhouse which was the birthplace of Gertrude Stein (1874-1946). Yes, she's from pittsburgh too, although only spent the first 3 years of her life here before moving to Vienna and Paris. At the time she was born however, this neighborhood was part of a seperate city, Allegheny, which became a part of Pittsburgh later. This neighborhood lies directly north from downtown across the river, behind where the stadiums are today.Gertrude was an important writer who was in the forefront of modern art and literature. She naturally lived in Paris; first with her brother Leo and then with her partner Alice Toklas until her death. She was friends with many of the important artists of the day: Picasso, Matisse, Ernest Hemingway: you name it, if they were important in the arts she knew them. Throughout her life, she felt it important to stay in touch with the young and new, fresh ideas coming into the world and nurturing this talent. She wrote extensively about her relationships with these fascinating characters.
Gertrude Stein by Picasso, 1906.

Among her other writings, she practiced 'automatic writing' that she had learned while at Radcliffe College from 1893-1897 through the help of the psychologist William James. This entailed writing continually through a stream of unconciousnesss while you hold your conscious mind at bay which she used in her word portraits. The importance of the unconscious was an important part of her writing style throughout her lifetime and can be found in nearly all of her work.

Gertrude and Alice in Venice in 1908, at the beginning of their relationship

She quickly became famous in the first decade of the 20th century through her private gallery she collected with her brother, which nurtured a lot of what we consider the modern masters. in 1914 there was a family break and they divided the famous collection. She later sold much of this collection in order to focus on Picasso and Gris.

One of her most famous lines comes from the 1913 poem, Sacred Emily in which she states:

'Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose'. She is also well known for her many books about her relationship with her partner.

I hope you all enjoyed todays brief history lesson!