Skip to comments.‘Seeing Gertrude Stein’ overlooks alleged collusion with fascists
Posted on 10/15/2011 6:26:57 AM PDT by decimon
The National Portrait Gallerys new exhibit, Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories,boasts more than 50 objects and artifacts and 100 artworks created by an international coterie of artists, all of which celebrate and illuminate the life and times of one of the most famous and enigmatic American figures in Paris between the world wars.
But there is one emerging story conspicuously not on view in Seeing Gertrude Stein; namely, the tale of the avant-garde icons extensive collaboration with the Vichy regime, the Nazi puppet government established in occupied France in World War II.
According to the recently published book Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Fay and the Vichy Dilemma by Dartmouth professor Barbara Will, Stein, an emblematic figure of artistic modernism and a Jew actually wrote translations of 32 speeches made by Vichy president and Nazi tool Marshal Philippe Petain, a World War I hero today despised by the French as their own Benedict Arnold.
Seeing Gertrude Stein was originally mounted in San Franciscos Contemporary Jewish Museum and coordinated with a larger exhibit of the fabled Stein family art collection mounted by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
Who’s who ping.
Well, I’m going to read this - being a huge Gertrude Stein fan. Another flame suit for me, lol! Thanks for posting.
Part of this was her adoration for Petain who she viewed - rightfully - as a hero of WWI. She and Alice were ambulance drivers during that time. She wanted to write speeches for Petain during the Vichy regime but was talked out of it by friends.
Although she was a staunch Republican and patriotic American, it was more important for her that she be happy, safe and comfortable. So she allowed an anti-semitic Vichy collaborator to run interference for her. Janet Malcolm recently exposed all this in her small but fascinating “Two Lives.”
It seems that she wrote approvingly of Il Duce and Der Fuhrer before the war.
I like this line of investigation as it could give new insight into the characters and events of the last century.
Oh, she was a political idiot - no doubt about it. Until, of course, she starts coming to America on a regular basis and writing about the glories of our country. She hated FDR!
I’m all for investigating her story. Why not? But this article does not mention Janet Malcolm’s “Two Lives” at all. And she’s the one who has done the most research on this part of Stein’s life.
If you read some of the comments after this article, you’ll get a more interesting view of Stein. Indeed, she did not “disappear.” She moved to the countryside!
Bump for later.
I find it rather odd that Stein, a Jew, would embrace Fascism (both the Italian and German variants) and disparage FRD as a socialist! It is quite incredible that Stein never figured out Fascism (Italian or German), New Deal socialism, and Stalinist Communism are all chips off the same block. These “-isms” are all similar except how they regard private property under the state's all powerful gaze. All these “-isms” promise an earthly utopia and all have delivered nothing but the impoverishment of nations and over 100 million deaths in the 20th century.
I think you could push that back some 50 years here in the US and I don't think we really understand that period. I think that many here at FR would be surprised at the attitudes of their ancestors here in the US.
That depression generation saw the bottom fall out of the economy. In their minds capitalism had failed, so they flocked to authoritarian or totalitarian ideologies which differed, as you say, only in how they regarded private property. Later generations living in very different times had a very different set of political options.
Stein was a very erratic figure -- as one might guess from her writing. She had a very complicated relationship to her Jewish background, to Judaism, and to Christianity. Stein definitely disliked FDR and admired Petain and Franco. A lot of people at the time did. If she also admired Mussolini that wouldn't be surprising. Her endorsement of a Nobel Peace Prize for Hitler, though, is truly bizarre. Maybe shocking people got to be a habit with her.
One thing the recent book points out is that there was a shift in Stein's social circle as the interwar years went on. She stopped hanging out with people like Hemingway (who admittedly must have been insufferable) and took up with a French homosexual crowd that was considered "right-wing" by the standards of the day. Gertrude and Alice probably wouldn't have been left alone during the war years if they didn't have powerful friends in the Vichy regime.
Anyone who reads at all diversely during these bizarre 1920s cannot escape the conclusion that a number of crazy men and women are writing stuff which remarkably passes for important composition among certain persons who should know better. Stuart P. Sherman, however, refused to be numbered among those who stand in awe and admiration of one of the most eminent of the idiots, Gertrude Stein. He reviews her Geography and Plays in the August 11 issue of the Literary Review of the New York Evening Post and arrives at the conviction that it is a marvellous and painstaking achievement in setting down approximately 80,000 words which mean nothing at all. -- James Thurber
The Ribbentropp-Molotov Pact that finished the destruction of Poland and took the specter of a two front war off the plate for Hitler was a great accomplishment for German diplomacy. Hitler and Stalin became allied from mutual self-interest. Remember: Stalin's Great Purges of the CP and Red Army had greatly weakened both and Stalin was buying time as they rebuilt themselves.
By June 1940, Hitler's Blitzkreig had been successful on the Western Front. The Low Countries had fallen, Norway and Denmark had fallen, France had fallen, and only England and its Commonwea;th fought on. American Leftists, worked overtome to sabotage the flow of war supplies to England, because Russia and Germany we friends and Germany was fighting England.
Hitler's invasion of Russia on 22 June 1941 produced an immediate flip-flop in attitude and support for the war in Europe. The American Left wanted the United States to pullout the stops in the support of Russia. The U.S., Great Britain, and Russia became partners of convenience against the major German threat and this continued through the final victories over Germany's and Japan's war machines.
The Left regarded it as unfair that only America had the atomic bomb. Traitors like Klaus Fuchs and the Rosenbergs actively passed American nuclear secrets to the Soviets until Russia, too, had the A-bomb in 1949. The American Left did all it could to sabotage American interests in favor of Soviet Communism. Activities of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and WI Senator Joeseph McCarthy (still vilified by the Left) exposed the penetration of Communists within the U,S, government. Nixon and McCarthy were correct about the dangers to America by Communism. As usual, the American Left sides with America's enemies and have continued to sabotage our policies since. The fall of the Soviet Union did not blunt the American Left’s desire to destroy this country . . . they switched sides to support Islamofascism.
Marshal Petain was not Pierre Laval, and even Laval was once a serious enemy of the Nazis. (I read about him years ago. Coincidentally, the History Chanel is running a series on Nazi Collaborators and the episode for last week was on Laval.) People of all political stripes collaborated.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.