American ex-patriot writer and satirist Gertrude Stein remarked in 1926:
“The creator of the new composition in the arts is an outlaw until he is a classic…No one is ahead of his time, it is only that the particular variety of creating his time is the one that his contemporaries who are also creating their own time refuse to accept… For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts. In the history of the refused in the arts and literature the rapidity of the change is always startling.” Somewhat following the perception of Gandhi on change—‘first they ignore, then the laugh, then they fight, they you win’—Gertrude Stein realized early on in her life as an avant-garde writer that responding to the energies and impulses of one’s time faces push-backs and negativity. The notion of reception doesn’t happen until others begin to recognize and accept, then change will be welcomed rather quickly. Human perceptions are complicated, especially when applied to the arts, creativity, culture, and the whole lot.
What are your thoughts on Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein and the slowness of French society in particular and Western society in general to accept modernism in the Arts?
Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1906
Felix Vallotton, Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1907