There is no denying that O’Keeffe was an extraordinarily ambitious professional. But it does not necessarily follow that the dearth of other successful women artists was the result of her competitiveness.
Alongside the very elegant rocks at O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu home, she cared for a collection of container plants, including geraniums and a huge jade plant that she had nurtured from a six-inch pot, providing her with “something green.” In case you have insects on your houseplants, O’Keeffe advised: “Puff cigarette smoke on them.”
The young Georgia O’Keeffe, working relentlessly to find her voice as an artist, was ambivalent about viewer reception. She longed for people to understand her art, but she resisted that desire at the same time. Modern art was for art’s sake, and the meaning was hers to know and not necessarily for her viewer to […]
Right from the get-go, Georgia O’Keeffe resisted patriarchy. “I have always resented being told that there are things I cannot do because I am a woman,” she told a National Woman’s Party audience in 1926. “I remember how I used to argue with my brother about which were best, boys or girls. When I argued […]
I have been meaning to share this video for a while… It’s by a young photographer, Petra Collins, created to celebrate the opening of the Tate Modern’s O’Keeffe retrospective last year. Interestingly, I think Collins nails O’Keeffe’s aesthetic in an interview with Vogue: “I was so drawn to her work, the shapes and lines, how […]
One of my favorite photographs of O’Keeffe, so majestic and rooted, like a tree. (She claimed to prefer trees to people.)
As a journalist and historian, I bring a perhaps too-healthy skepticism to documentaries and memoirs about O’Keeffe. They suffer, most of them, from nostalgia, or romanticism, or psychological projection. This one manages to be different. Christine Taylor Patten, interviewed by the BBC for a documentary marking the O’Keeffe retrospective at the Tate Modern last year, […]
As a historian, I am always on the lookout for contemporary documentation, in order to understand what/how things meant in their own day. Somehow I stumbled upon this film about New Mexico by Carl Dudley, an American director and producer well-known for his short travelogues. It was copyrighted in 1947, at the same time that […]
Three women, two continents. Artists who dwell in modernism — abandoning sentiment for the acute eye. That eye turns toward the landscape, and claims a place in the world. “O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism.” The Art Gallery of New South Wales. Through October 2, 2017.
“O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism.” The Art Gallery of New South Wales. Through October 2, 2017. The exhibit includes 30 of O’Keeffe’s paintings, three gallery’s worth. They include none of my favorites, and a number I don’t even like. (All the cottonwoods.) My goal during this second visit is to take a deep dive […]
After a break, I went back to reading My Faraway One. In my June 20 post about the first two hundred pages of correspondence between Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, I asked myself: At this point, does O’Keeffe think of herself as an artist? Lo and behold, within another hundred pages, O’Keeffe addresses this very […]
Georgia O’Keeffe may be the most egregiously over-interpreted artist of all time. The interpretations, and the narratives, have gotten so thick that it’s hard to see past them to the paintings. This 1935 review, one of my favorites, is a clear view to the paintings, “freed [ . . .] from literalism.” “So intensely felt […]
I’m making my way through the more than one thousand articles on Georgia O’Keeffe in The New York Times database. Lots of goodies! On February 10, 1946, the Times reported on the Women’s Press Club dinner in Washington, DC, attended by President and Mrs. Truman and 600 guests. Atom scientist Dr. Lise Meitner was presented […]
It is hard to realize that any group still has to work for equal rights before the law. . . . Surely today when women are taking their place everywhere we should not think in terms of reservations and prejudices of the past, but of a joint effort, the freedom of peoples and of human […]
Nearly two hundred pages into the correspondence* between Georgia O’Keeffe (in Canyon, Texas) and Alfred Stieglitz (in New York City), I’m feeling claustrophobic. On every page, another angst-filled stream-of-consciousness. Both O’Keeffe and Stieglitz feel like misfits — lonely, and needy. She is the aspiring artist needing affirmation. He is the aging man needing a shot […]