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Gertrude Stein's work flourished in a world which was finding bold new ways of expressing itself. Forms like Impressionism, cubism, expressionsism and other non-representational styles were developed that provoked and challenged the observer (as well as the established art world). What avant-garde artists did with paint and ink, Gertrude Stein did with words – dispensing with conventions of grammar and clarity, she gave free rein to word play and the musicality of sounds, without regard to their meaning or relationships. For Stein, words were as colors on a palette or as chords in a piece of music.

In Tender Buttons, she combines words with a blatant disregard of rule and regulation, indulging in a free-association response to the images in front of her.

Written in 1914, Tender Buttons is a prime example of Gertrude's unique vision and her imaginative response to a brave new world of art on the cusp of reinventing itself.

Public Domain (P)2021 Amy Soakes

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