Pablo Picasso’s postcards to his friends featured a flourish: a hand-drawn illustration. As with other artists, like Edward Gorey, whose illustrated envelopes are a joy, the blend of words and pictures creates something new and intensely personal.
Picasso wrote often to the American writer and collector Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) , who he’d met in Paris. Stein fondly recounts their friendship in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude’s bestselling memoir of the Paris years as seen through the eyes of her companion. (Toklas’s recipe for hash fudge may be of interest.)
Stein’s Paris home was “hung to the ceiling with now-famous paintings, the double doors of the dining room were lined with Picasso sketches… For all intents and purposes, Leo and Gertrude Stein had inaugurated, at 27 Rue de Fleurus, the first museum of modern art.”
Picasso’s postcard to Gertrude Stein (1919):
“Mais non Gertrude,
“il n’y a pas des mouches et je n’ai vu encore qu’un moustique, que j’ai tué d’ailleurs. Ecrives si le couer vous dit. Milles bonnes choses de nous deux a vous [et mlle Toklas]
“there are no flies, and I haven’t seen more than one mosquito, which I killed, anyway. Write me if the mood strikes. All the best to you and Ms. Toklas.