So This is What Americans Are Known For...

...according to Gertrude Stein.

So, I'm currently reading The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, and throughout, my mind has been blown by the concept of a time when Picassos and Matisses, Braques and Grises (Grises?) could be bought for fairly cheap because these men were not what they are Stein writes "geniuses" or "almost geniuses."

I just came to a description of Matisse's home in Clamart:

This home in Clamart was very comfortable, to be sure the bath-room, which the family much appreciated from long contact with americans, although it must be said that the Matisses had always been and always were scrupulously neat and clean, was on the ground floor adjoining he dining room. But that was alright, and is and was a french custom, in french houses. It gave more privacy to a bath-room to have it on the ground floor. Not so long ago in going over the new house Braque was building the bath-room was again below, this time underneath the dining room. When we said, but why, they said because being nearer the furnace it would be warmer.

There you have, ladies and gentlemen, at the beginning of the 20th century, americans were known for having bath-rooms. I don't know: it tickled me.

Image of Gertrude Stein (seated) and her partner Alice B. Toklas by Cecil Beaton from


Jon DeepBlue said…
And what Americans are known for today?

Writer said…
The Kardashians? Which is kinda the same thing.

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