Basket II by Marie Laurencin

Gertrude Stein and her second poodle, Basket II, flank a portrait of Basket II by Marie Laurencin

On Bluesky, Michael Lobel keeps ringing the dog painting bell, and I keep salivating. Friday morning he posted this photo of Gertrude Stein sitting with her and Alice B. Toklas’ dog, holding a portrait of the dog by Marie Laurencin. Stein and Toklas had three dogs in succession, all named Basket. This was Basket II.

Marie Laurencin, Basket II, n.d., oil on canvas, probably 20 x 16 in., in the Stein/Toklas Papers collection at the Beinecke

The painting is in the Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas Papers collection at the Beinecke Library, and has not, as yet, been transferred to the Yale Art Gallery. [next day update: I was wrong. The painting is indeed on permanent loan to the Gallery. Who nevertheless does not show it in their collection.]

There is no date. Laurencin came into Stein’s orbit as early as 1908-1910, during her (Laurencin’s obv) affairs with Apollinaire and Nicole Groult. Basket I makes many appearances in the second and fourth albums of Stein’s photographs in the Beinecke, the mid- to late 1930s. Basket II appears in Vol. 4. Oh, the photo above is from Vol. 5, which dates from 1940-1945, and includes soldiers’ photos of a burned out Berchtesgaden. So this presumably follows Laurencin’s rehabilitation after her affairs with the Nazis during the occupation. The verso of the photo has a label, “From tHe CollECtioN Of CaRl VAN VecHten.”

[Next day update: from the published letters between Stein & Van Vechten, the portrait was painted in 1946, before March. Stein sent Van Vechten a photo; was it this one? The photo is well-published, if thinly discussed.]

There is also in the collection a one-page object from 1950 titled, Hommage à Basket : an impression, by Surrealist instigator Lise Deharme, which includes a portrait by Laurencin. Posthumous to Stein, of course, but perhaps relevant.