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You can’t just knock on the door of 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris and expect to get in. One must have an introduction.

A century ago, when writer and art collector Gertrude Stein lived there with her lover, Alice B. Toklas, the door was always answered with, “de la part de qui venez-vous, who is your introducer,” Stein wrote in her bestselling memoir, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). “Everybody was supposed to be able to mention the name of somebody who had told them about it.”

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