Location: Bryant Park, New York
Artist: Jo Davidson
Gertrude Stein was a complex pioneer or modernism, she is remembered as a language innovator, queer feminist and lesbian role model and literacy anarchist. Stein lived a very progressive life style as a Jewish- American experimental writer and art collector. Stein is also very well known for being host as an expat in Paris to some of the greatest minds, avant-garde authors and artists such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Picasso. Stein was able to redefine what it meant to be a woman in the world of art through her confidence and ambition.
In 1903, Stein fled America, bored of the pressures from gendered normalities and the medical degree she was expected to obtain. Seeking an outlet to express her eccentric point of view, she settled down in Paris, where she intentionally choose to live life free from the cage of heteronormativity.
Stein opened her apartment in Paris to bring together the most esteemed artists of the day and not only mentored but uplifted them but her direct critiques of their work. This allowed her to coin the name 'The Voice of the Lost Generation'. A group of American expats coming together in France to truly reflect and transform the deepest breakthroughs of the century.
Everything about Stein is soaked in utter authenticity. She was able to embrace her own unconventional and some what strange nature. A true trailblazer in the modernist period and a face for Queer identity. Steins essays were among the first publications of homosexual revelation and relationship.
Stein was not a woman that strove to be accepted or allowed society to mould and shape her into a box. Rather, she carved her own place into history, liberating and empowering the means of freedom within self expression and creativity for generations to come.
"You are extraordinary within your limits, but your limits are extraordinary!" - Gertrude Stein
1 of 5 sculptures in the park, this statue honours the pioneering American author, poet, playwright, and art collector Gertrude Stein (1874-1946). Stein was also famous for her Paris salon, where writers and artists like Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway would meet. The bronze statue was installed in 1992 and is based on a model made by Jo Davidson in Paris in 1923.
During Stein’s life in Paris, New York City had filled its parks and squares with statues of statesmen, poets and warriors. There was only one that depicted a woman in one of the most iconic parks – the statue of Joan of Arc. New York art dealer and psychologist, Dr. Maury Leibovitz happened to own the estate of Jo Davidson and not long after, New York gained one of the most fascinating and captivating works for public art in the city. Its proximity to the New York Public Library reflects Stein’s significant literary contributions.