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Centers of Creativity

During the 1920s and 1930s, certain communities were important incubators of creativity. Some of these gatherings had a specific address: a Paris townhouse, a hotel, an art school. Others encompassed an entire neighborhood or city. Most attracted a diverse mix of innovators from different artistic disciplines: dancers, painters, actors, designers, and musicians, as well as writers.

All inspired collaboration and competition, along with friendships and romantic entanglements. All had a profound influence on American literature.

Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas in their home in Paris at 27 rue de Fleurus
Courtesy the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

 

27 rue de Fleurus: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas hosted regular Saturday evening salons at their Paris home, attracting many pioneers of modern art and literature. A short list includes Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, James Joyce, Thornton Wilder, Sherwood Anderson, Ezra Pound, Juan Gris, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque.