Gertrude’s favorite little armchairs, tapestried by Jack-of-all-trades Alice with designs Picasso had made for them. When you look at the cover of the American edition of my book (blog # 23) you will notice that Picasso’s armchair design was used as the background: Gertie is marching straight out of the beginnings of modernism in art.
How different this playful, colorful touch is by comparison with the German cover. The German version has its own small playful note, but it is so very German in its thorough straightness. One could say, the Bauhaus style is alive and well in it (there happens to be a remarkable exhibition right now at Moma: “Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity”). I prefer the American childlike gaiety, not just because it fits so well with Gertrude’s spirit, but because it always reminds me that the freedom to be playful and childlike is an essentially American, Californian quality that has nourished me greatly. It inspired me to write a different foreword than for the German edition, to add new thoughts and play in new ways with words. In my next blog, I will give you an example of what could not be done in the German edition, but could be done and had to be done in the American book… But now the story of the chairs:
One day, during a heated argument with Gertrude at the salon, Ezra Pound fell out of one of these chairs — and was never invited again. According to the “Autobiograplhy of Alice B. Toklas, “Gertrude Stein liked him but did not find him amusing. She said he was a village explainer, excellent if you were a village, but if you were not, not.”