Becoming O'Keeffe: The Early Years

Sarah Whitaker Peters, Author Abbeville Press $24.95 (397p) ISBN 978-0-89659-907-9
In 1915 Georgia O'Keeffe was an oddly reckless 27-year-old college art teacher in South Carolina. By 1918 she was living and working with photographer Alfred Stieglitz, her future husband, who inspired her synthesis of painting and photography. Art historian Peters, who has taught at the University of Long Island, revealingly tracks the couple's fruitful collaboration by juxtaposing Stieglitz's lyrical photographs of Lake George, N.Y., with O'Keeffe's spiritual landscapes of the same terrain. One can also trace a progression in Stieglitz's photo-portraits of O'Keeffe, which become less obsessive and more objective. In 1929-1930, her trips to Taos, N.M., reacquainted her with Pueblo sand paintings, songs and dances which helped her tap a ``primordial . . . therapeutic power'' in her own art, according to Peters. Focusing on the period 1915-1930, this richly rewarding, stunningly illustrated study pinpoints influences, from art nouveau to Kandinsky, which O'Keeffe absorbed. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
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