Georgia on Our Minds; Long after Her Death, O'Keeffe's Still a Definitively American Artist. but Take the Myth with a Grain of Salt

Newsweek, August 23, 2004 | Go to article overview

Georgia on Our Minds; Long after Her Death, O'Keeffe's Still a Definitively American Artist. but Take the Myth with a Grain of Salt


Byline: Peter Plagens

For most Americans with an interest in art, the monumentalized flowers and delicately breathtaking landscapes of Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) are modernist enough to be exciting and traditional enough to be credible. Her persona is equally compelling: the fiercely independent, no-man-needed woman in a long black dress, walking the canyons of New Mexico in search of the perfect bleached skull to paint. A few curmudgeons consider her work "The Bridges of Madison County" on canvas: high-toned at first glance, sentimental at bottom. But from the beginning, O'Keeffe was determined to find a style that was honest, pure and personal, and never to compromise it.

Her early success was startling. By 1927 she was supporting herself entirely by painting; in the 1930s her pictures commanded the price equivalent of five automobiles. And she's still a star. "A Sense of Place," the current exhibit at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., shows a selection of her landscapes, along with 20 color photographs of the sites that stirred her to paint them; attendance has spiked 21 percent. (The show runs through Sept. 12, then travels to Columbus, Ohio, and Wilmington, Dela.) And at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, "Georgia O'Keeffe and the Sublime Landscape" will welcome an estimated 60,000 spectators by late September before moving on to Fresno, Calif.; Indianapolis; Chattanooga, Tenn., and Boise, Idaho. That would be second only to the turnout for the museum's Monet show a few years ago.

O'Keeffe claimed that her visual memory reached so far back that she could accurately recall her baby quilt. At the age of 12, she'd decided she was going to be an artist. But as a massive new biography--"Full Bloom" by Los Angeles art writer Hunter Drohojowska-Philp--makes clear, O'Keeffe's real life wasn't quite like the defiant legend her admirers crave. She met the love of her life, the much older modernist photographer Alfred Stieglitz, in 1916, when she stormed into his avant-garde New York gallery demanding to know why some of her drawings had been hung there without her permission. They became lovers and Stieglitz left his wife and child to marry her. He pushed O'Keeffe to be a great painter--and she pushed herself even harder. Their collaboration was both artistic (she posed nude for his lens) and domestic: she settled into being a surprisingly dutiful wife, packing china service for 12 every summer when the couple decamped from their Manhattan penthouse for upstate Lake George. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Georgia on Our Minds; Long after Her Death, O'Keeffe's Still a Definitively American Artist. but Take the Myth with a Grain of Salt
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.