Pioneer Pride

Edward Burns


One of the leading experts on the twentieth century American author, poet, and art collector Gertrude Stein and her entourage, Edward Burns, professor of English, recently served as an advisor to the exhibition “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde,” organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Reunion des Musees Nationaux-Grand Palais, Paris.

The exhibition featured paintings in Stein’s collection and those belonging to her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael’s wife Sarah. Burns wrote an essay about Gertrude Stein that was included in the exhibition’s catalog and donated more than two hundred archival photos of the paintings in Gertrude Stein’s apartment, some of which were printed in the catalog.

“I gradually gave the Metropolitan curator the photos, some dating back to 1903, that Stein took of her apartment that showed how the paintings were displayed which were sent to friends,” Burns says. “Some of the photos are unique, some were taken by legendary photographer Man Ray, and many were used throughout the catalog.”

Burns adds that the exhibit includes approximately two hundred artworks and many of the photos he donated are now in The Met’s permanent collection.

Acting as an advisor to the exhibition was professionally fulfilling for Burns. “I enjoyed working with the curators in each of the institutions,” he says. “And I was impressed by the care they brought to their research and to their installations. I am proud to see my work is well used.”

Burns joined the faculty in 1989. He has published widely on Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, James Joyce, and Thornton Wilder, among others. His work on the Steins was part of a three-part New Yorker article by Janet Malcolm. His areas of specialization include American literature, literary modernism, textual theory, and criticism. He holds a doctorate from the City University of New York