For seven decades Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) was a major figure in American art who, remarkably, maintained her independence from shifting artistic trends. She painted prolifically, and almost exclusively, the flowers, animal bones, and landscapes around her studios in Lake George, New York, and New Mexico, and these subjects became her signature images. Remaining true to her own unique artistic vision, she created a highly individual style of painting that synthesized the formal language of modern European abstraction and the subjects of traditional American pictorialism. Ever popular with American critics and the public since the first years of her career, O'Keeffe's reputation with contemporary audiences has expanded into the international arena. This comprehensive and illuminating new book surveys Georgia O'Keeffe's complete oeuvredrawings, watercolors, and paintings from all periodsand explains her life in the context of her artistic output. The accessible text provides in-depth analysis of her most important pictures and highlights the recurring themes and images that unite her large body of work. The discussion incorporates current scholarship and benefits from the recent publication of the artist's catalogue raisonne. O'Keeffe's relationships with fellow artists such as Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Paul Strand, and, especially, Alfred Stieglitz are also explored. It was not uncommon for her to adapt to her own artistic purposes specific images, themes, or compositions from other people's work, although her ideas more often paralleled, and sometimes even preceded, those of other artists. Throughout her long and productive life, Georgia O'Keeffe was emphatic in her belief that art could not be explained adequately with words: "Colors & line & shapes seem for me a more definite statement than words." Yet, despite her protestations, candid writings from every period exist in the artist's vast correspondence, and they are quoted here to provide greater understanding of her personality and her thoughts about art. 75 color and 75 b/w illustrations.
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Lisa Mintz Messinger is Associate Curator in the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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