I was greeted with a broad warm smile by Gertrude Stein, massive, in a woolen dress and woolen socks with comfortable sandal. . . . I had brought my camera. . . . Perhaps I was impressed by the staidness of her personality but it never occurred to me to try any fantasy or acrobatics with her physiognomy. . . .
Man Ray thus described his first portrait session with the writer Gertrude Stein in 1921, when he made this image. His portraits of Stein were the first of her to appear in print, providing her readers with some idea of her appearance. He photographed her frequently over the next ten years.