IotD: Francis Rose Depicts Stein & Toklas at Home

stein & toklas - sir francis rose

stein and toklas - sir francis rose

Sir Francis Cyril Rose was a titled British painter that Gertrude Stein patronized throughout the 1930’s, but despite her best efforts she was never able to generate much sustained interest in his work and he remains an obscure figure of the era.

And while Rose is certainly no Picasso or even a Matisse, there’s a quality to his art that more immediately compels than the work of either of those more famous artists. I particularly like how he is able to evoke a sense of comfortable queer domesticity at 27 rue de Fleurus, with as much emphasis on Toklas and their beloved dogs as on her famous modern art collection. The Stein glimpsed here is certainly a far cry from, say, the imperious sibyl immortalized by Picasso some twenty years before.

I did a fair amount of research on Rose several years ago in conjunction with a paper I wrote on Samuel M. Steward, and truly, there are aspects of Rose’s life that are stranger than fiction. I’ll have to write up some more information on this curious figure sooner than later.

Provenance

TOP: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (1939)
Sir Francis Cyril Rose
Tempera and gouache on cardboard
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

BOTTOM: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (1939)
Sir Francis Cyril Rose
Gouache on paper
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

 

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3 thoughts on “IotD: Francis Rose Depicts Stein & Toklas at Home

  1. Have you ever written more about Sri Francis Rose? I met him in Brighton in 1961 and he gave me a copy of “Saying Life” (or “Saying Lies” as another gay baronet of the time, Sir John Waller, told me it should have been called). I’ve just read it (2016) and it’s a fascinating story, particularly about Rose’s relationships with Germans such as Hitler & Goering. I’d like to know more, especially about how he survived after the war, which Saying Life doesn’t cover.

    • Hi Royston, thanks for you comment! (And apologies for the delay in response.) I actually have written a bit on Rose, in a paper on Samuel M. Steward’s roman-a-clef Parisian Lives, which centers on Steward’s friendship with the British artist. It’s… a scandalous perspective on Rose, which is why the book couldn’t get published until after Rose’s passing. I’ll look up my paper and include it in an upcoming post. But it doesn’t deal with any of the specific topics that you’re asking about–he’s clearly a figure that deserves further research!

  2. Pingback: IotD: An Intimate Glimpse of Francis Rose by Christopher Wood | queer modernisms

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