“Finally, a woman on paper!”
That’s the legendary — and likely apocryphal — exclamation attributed to photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz when he first laid eyes on drawings by Georgia O’Keeffe. As the standard story unfolds (he exhibits her, photographs her, promotes her, marries her), this “aha” moment of recognition becomes a claim of discovery. And, as all claims of discovery imply, a declaration of ownership.
With this single pronouncement, quoted with biblical zeal across the O’Keeffe literature, Stieglitz is given credit for her career. This is her de facto origin story: the hero’s journey reduced to marriage plot.