Gertrude Was Right: Look for a Window

Media - 1975.32 - SAAM-1975.32_1 - 88311
Red Grooms, Gertrude, 1975, color lithograph and collage on paper mounted on paperboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Kainen and museum purchase through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, 1975.32
December 10, 2007

"I have always enjoyed going to museums," said Gertrude Stein, "because the view from museum windows is usually very pleasant.” At the time she was visiting the Phillips Collection here in Washington, D.C. Stein established one of the earliest salons for modern painting and sculpture at her Paris flat at 27 Rue de Fleurus. La Stein became a focal point of the twentieth century’s shifting ideas of the possibilities of art. She who famously said of her hometown of Oakland, California “there is no there there” made her own there through the worlds of art and literature. I like Stein’s idea of looking for a window in a museum of all places, where you’re supposed to turn your eye inward. Shouldn’t there be only one view in a museum? What’s out there that could possibly be better than what’s in here?


Recent Posts

Sculpture of a woman. Massive antlers on her head cradle a delicate, translucent adult figure in a fetal position, like a creature preparing to emerge from its cocoon. Scattered on the ground below are antlers.
Exploring the personal transformation reflected in her artwork Rouse.
An art conservator holds a vacuum nozzle on a piece of artwork.
A peek into the world of conservation and the meticulous care of James Hampton’s The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly.
Photo Anna Nielsen
Anna Nielsen
Conservation Program Coordinator
Eliza Macdonald
Katya Zinsli
Detail of illustrated portrait of Emma Amos.
Painter, printmaker, and textile artist Emma Amos created colorful multi-media works that explore themes of identity.