Etude préparatoire pour le portrait de Gertrude Stein (Paris, musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris)
ierre Tal Coat (1905-1985), Preparatory study for the portrait of Gertrude Stein, ca. 1934, graphite on paper, 45.5 x 36 cm, signed lower right: "Talcoat".
Initially trained as a ceramic painter, Pierre Tal Coat arrived in Paris in 1924. He devoted himself to self-taught easel painting. In 1926, he exhibited in the Fabre Gallery and took the name of Tal Coat ("Wooden front" in Breton). In Paris, he was familiar with Méraud Guiness' dinners and became friends with Francis Gruber, André Marchand, Francis Picabia, Alberto and Diego Giacometti, Ernest Hemingway, Balthus, Antonin Artaud, Tristan Tzara, Paul-Émile Victor as well as Léo and Gertrude Stein.
This unpublished sheet is preparatory to the portrait he painted of Gertrude Stein in 1934-1935. This painting, now preserved in Paris at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (illus. 01), won him the Prix Paul Guillaume in 1936. Tal Coat represents her sitting with her dog, Basket. Of American origin, the Steins settled in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century: Gertrude, an avant-garde writer, with her brother Leo, on rue de Fleurus; Michael, the elder, with his wife Sarah, on rue Madame. As the first buyers of Matisse and Picasso, they welcomed the entire artistic avant-garde into their home and thus built up one of the most astonishing collections of modern art. Gertrude Stein had a visionary taste, she was particularly attached to the works of Picasso, Matisse, Juan Gris, André Masson, Francis Picabia but also Pierre Tal Coat. In this unpublished study, the artist focuses her attention on capturing the face and gaze of her model, a leading actress in the history of aesthetic modernity. Related to this drawing is a sheet, graphite on paper, also in the Buel & Ract-Madoux collection. It is a frontal portrait of Gertrude Stein.
Pierre Tal Coat, Portrait de Gertrude Stein, 1935, huile sur mortier,
169 x 90 cm, Paris, musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.