The Story of the Gertrude Stein statue in Bryant Park, NYC

I once had a landscape client named Dr. Maury Leibovitz. He was an older gentleman and asked me to create a perennial garden for him in his large property in Greenwich, Ct. 

We had a lot of fun doing it. He enjoyed it greatly. During that time he gave me a tour of his estate's grounds and shared stories of  the magnificent sculptures that dotted the landscape.

 I learned that he started out as an accountant for  Occidental Petroleum Corporation and became an associate of the the corporation's late chairman, Dr. Armand Hammer. Leibovitz and Hammer shared a love of fine art and together purchased Knoedler Galleries and Publishing in 1971.

Jo Davidson and Gertrude Stein in Paris - photo by Man Ray 

Maury shared stories of how he found certain artists. And one sculpture in particular he loved - Gertrude Stein by Jo Davidson.  He and I stood there  and admired it, set in a pastoral setting, and I listened to his stories. I told him that his gift was to share great art he found with the world. 

gertrude stein by alvin langdon coburn
A few months later he passed away suddenly.  I was so sad.

But one day I was in Bryant Park in NYC and what do I see? The Gertrude Stein sculpture! 

Maury had indeed shared it with the world.  I found out that Dr. Leibovitz had donated his Davidson sculpture of Gertrude Stein to the newly rehabilitated Bryant Park in Manhattan after he “heard Parks Commissioner Betsy Gotbaum complain about the fact that real women had yet to find an honorable place in the city’s public statuary.”

This was the first full statue of a female that was not mythical in NYC public statues! We had to wait until 1992.

Thank You, Dr. Maury Leibovitz. 

Please check out Bryant Park next to the 42nd street library in New York when you are there. 


  1. I really enjoyed this post and appreciate that you posted about this subject I hope that people will learn from it and appreciate things the way they should be.


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