Paris in 1908 was a soap opera starring the brightest and wildest writers and artists of the time. Marie Laurencin's "Group of Artists" tells the story perfectly — Picasso in a blue suit is flattened in a nod to his primitivist abstractions, his model Fernande Olivier coyly leans head on hand. Apollinaire is center stage, and Laurencin stands between the men with a rose and a knowing expression. This clever, even humorous group portrait acts like a poster for a TV show — with hints and gestures for fans of the series recognize.
And this group had their fans — Gertrude Stein, avid collector of these early modernists' artwork bought "Group of Artists" for display in her massive home gallery. It was Marie Laurencin's first art sale, the first of a long and prolific career.