O'Keeffe

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English
208 Pages
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In 1905 Georgia travelled to Chicago to study painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1907 she enrolled at the Art Students’ League in New York City, where she studied with William Merritt Chase. During her time in New York she became familiar with the 291 Gallery owned by her future husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. In 1912, she and her sisters studied at university with Alon Bement, who employed a somewhat revolutionary method in art instruction originally conceived by Arthur Wesley Dow. In Bement’s class, the students did not mechanically copy nature, but instead were taught the principles of design using geometric shapes. They worked at exercises that included dividing a square, working within a circle and placing a rectangle around a drawing, then organising the composition by rearranging, adding or eliminating elements. It sounded dull and to most students it was. But Georgia found that these studies gave art its structure and helped her understand the basics of abstraction. During the 1920s O’Keeffe also produced a huge number of landscapes and botanical studies during annual trips to Lake George. With Stieglitz’s connections in the arts community of New York – from 1923 he organised an O’Keeffe exhibition annually – O’Keeffe’s work received a great deal of attention and commanded high prices. She, however, resented the sexual connotations people attached to her paintings, especially during the 1920s when Freudian theories became a form of what today might be termed “pop psychology”. The legacy she left behind is a unique vision that translates the complexity of nature into simple shapes for us to explore and make our own discoveries. She taught us there is poetry in nature and beauty in geometry. Georgia O’Keeffe’s long lifetime of work shows us new ways to see the world, from her eyes to ours.

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Published 21 August 2015
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EAN13 9781780429724
Language English
Document size 37 MB

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O’Keeffe
Janet Souter
Front cover illustration Bell adonna  Häna, 1939. Oil on canvas, 92 x 76.2 cm, Private collection.
Back cover illustration Nude Series VIII, 1917. Watercolor on paper, 45.7 x 34.3 cm, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.
AuthorJanet Souter Design: Baseline Co Ltd 127129A Nguyen Hue Fiditourist Building, Floor 3 District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
© Parkstone Press Ltd, New York, USA © Confidential Concepts, Worldwide, USA © O’Keeffe Estate / Artists Rights Society, New York, USA © Alfred Stieglitz Estate / Artists Rights Society, New York, USA
ISBN 9781780429724
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or adapted without the permission of the copyright holder, throughout the world. Unless otherwise specified, copyright on the works reproduced lies with the respective photographers.
Despite intensive research, it has not always been possible to establish copyright ownership. Where this is the case, we would appreciate notification.
Georgia O’Keeffe
Janet Souter
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CONTENTS
Introduction
18871907 “Early Years: The Shaping of Georgia O’Keeffe”
19071916 “The Struggle to Find Her Vision in the Emerging World of Modern Art”
19161924 “I’ve Given the World a Woman”
19251937 The Stieglitz Years — Galleries, exhibitions, commissions
19381949 Stieglitz’s Health Declines, Georgia is established as artist in her own right
19491973 The New Mexico years
19731986 Artist emeritus
Notes
Biography
Bibliography
Index
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GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
INTRODUCTION
soGeven today? People recognize  powerful, flowers, bones, buildings. But something in her eorgia O’Keeffe, in her ability to see and marvel at the tiniest detail of a flower or the vastness of the southwestern landscape, drew us in as well. The more she cultivated her isolation, the more she attracted the rest of the world. What is it that makes her legacy paintings also shows us how to see. We stroll on the beach or hike a footpath and barely notice a delicate seashell or the subtle shades of a pebble; we kick aside a worn shingle. Driving through the desert we shade our eyes from the sun, blink, and miss the lone skull, signifying a life long since gone. Georgia embraced all these things and more, brought them into focus and forced us to make their acquaintance. Then, she placed them in a context that stimulated our imagination. The remains of an elk’s skull hovering over the desert’s horizon, or the moon looking down on the hard line of a New York skyscraper briefly guide us into another world. Her abstractions tell us that the play of horizontal and vertical shapes, concentric circles, curved and diagonal lines, images that exist in the mind, are alive as well and deserve to be shared. Georgia sensed this even as an art student in the early part of this century as she sat copying other people’s pictures or plaster torsos. In her own life, she showed women that it was possible to search out and find the best in themselves; easier today, not so easy when Georgia was young. Her later years serve as a role model for those of us who feel life is a downhill slide after the age of sixty. Well into her nineties, her eyesight failing, she still found ways to express what she saw and how it excited her. We look at her work and talk about it, but even Georgia had difficulty putting her thoughts into words. Her thoughts were on the canvas. What we can do in this book is see her evolution, who influenced her and how she forever sought out new experiences. We cannot discuss these discoveries with Georgia O’Keeffe. Those days are gone. But if we look around, we can see that she still talks to us. To this day, her work is as bright, fresh and moving as it was nearly 100 years ago. Why? Because, although the paintings, simple in their execution, hold a feeling of order, of being well thought out, a steadiness, yet a vehicle to help all of us see and examine the sensual delicacy of a flower, the starkness of a bleached skull and the electricity of a Western sunset.
INTRODUCTION
Page 6 Portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe.
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GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
EARLY YEARS: THE SHAPING OF GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
18871907
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GEORGIA O’KEEFFE