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The Steins Collect: The Corbusier Connection

The de Young Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Image via ArchDaily.

MMP's summer vacation this year brought the opportunity to see a wonderful trio of shows in San Francisco, centered on The Steins Collect at SFMOMA but also including the Picasso show at the de Young Museum and the super-cool-and-informative Seeing Gertrude Stein show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The art was wonderful, of course, but we hadn't bargained on absorbing almost as much architecture as we did painting, drawing and sculpture.

Lobby of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, image via the CJM.

First up were two significant museum buildings: Herzog de Meuron's de Young and Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum buildings, exhaustive contemplation of either of which could've absorbed our exhibit-time all by themselves. But that wasn't all—towards the end of the extensive MOMA exhibit, I came around a corner to find a room dedicated to the Stein-de Monzie Villa, which was commissioned by Gertrude Stein's older brother Michael and his wife Sarah, who were key early patrons and supporters of Matisse.


Villa Stein-de Monzie. Image via MIMOA

They later shifted their focus to architecture and became early champions of Le Corbusier, commissioning him to design them a joint home with their close friends the de Monzies, which was built in 1927 in Garches, France. SFMOMA posits that "the villa's design as a purist work of art as well as how the Steins inhabited their home and played a significant role in advancing the cause of modern architecture."

The tale of the Villa Stein reminds us to be always aware and supportive of important work being done by young architects today—which is the reason Hometta, and by extension this blog, exists.  

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