Georgia O'Keeffe Abstraction

Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887-1986

Book - 2009

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Subjects
Published
New Haven : Yale University Press c2009.
Language
English
Item Description
Published on the occasion of an exhibition held at: the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Sept. 17, 2009-Jan. 17, 2010; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., Feb. 6-May 9, 2010; and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, N.M., May 28-Sept. 12, 2010.
Physical Description
ix, 245 p. : ill. (chiefly col.), ports. ; 29 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780300148176
0300148178
Main Author
Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887-1986 (-)
Corporate Authors
Whitney Museum of American Art (-), Phillips Collection, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
Other Authors
Barbara Haskell (-), Sasha Nicholas
  • Georgia O'Keeffe: making the unknown
  • known / Barbara Haskell
  • Plates: 1915-1919
  • O'Keeffe as abstraction / Elizabeth Hutton Turner
  • Plates: 1920-1929
  • Useable form: O'Keeffe's materials, methods, and motifs / Bruce Robertson
  • Plates: 1930-1963
  • Georgia O'Keeffe and abstraction: an uneasy peace / Barbara Buhler Lynes
  • Plates: Georgia O'Keeffe: a portrait by Alfred Stieglitz, 1918-1922
  • Georgia O'Keeffe's letters to Alfred Stieglitz, 1916-1946 / selected by Sasha Nicholas
  • Georgia O'Keeffe: a contextual chronology / Barbara Haskell and Sasha Nicholas.
Review by Choice Reviews

O'Keeffe's compelling life story and largely accessible art have contributed to her sustained public adulation. She has been the subject of ongoing critical attention for over 80 years with mixed results. At the center of her fame are her flower paintings, with related accolades for her later New Mexico-inspired landscapes and bone-scapes. This exhibition catalogue documents O'Keeffe's more abstract work, largely produced 1915-30 and in the mid-1940s. The project intends to claim a preeminent place for her in the development of American modernism alongside Dove, Marin, and Hartley. The four expert essays are very readable, engaging, and informative. Project director/editor Haskell's essay addresses how O'Keeffe developed an abstract aesthetic that she maintained throughout her career. The essays are interspersed with substantial sections of appropriate full-color plates of exhibition works, and a section with 14 photographs of O'Keeffe taken 1918-22 by Stieglitz. Included is a selection of O'Keeffe's 1916-46 letters to Stieglitz (many were only recently made public). This significant publication offers an enhanced understanding of the role of abstraction in O'Keeffe's production and provides a more balanced narration on her overall career. Included are an excellent contextual chronology, extensive bibliography, and checklist. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All library collections committed to American modern art; lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers, general readers. Copyright 2010 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Books about Georgia O'Keeffe abound, including biographies; brilliantly illustrated exhibition catalogs; analyses of O'Keeffe's more or less well-known motifs; studies of particular mediums, materials, or methods; feminist considerations; and looks at her life and art vis--vis Alfred Stieglitz. This work contains aspects of each of those book types while remaining focused on investigating the abstract nature of O'Keeffe's work and its significance in American abstraction. It is also a traveling exhibition and catalog arranged collaboratively by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (now through January 17, 2010); the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC (February 6 to May 9, 2010); and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe (May 28 to September 12, 2010). Editor Haskell and essayists Barbara Buhler-Lynes, Bruce Robertson, and Elizabeth Hutton Turner are curators at major art museums and exceedingly prolific art historians. VERDICT This lavishly illustrated book is well documented and well laid out, as well as a page-turner to boot. Recommended for lovers of O'Keeffe, American art, and biography.—Jennifer Pollock, Coll. of DAAP Lib., Univ. of Cincinnati [Page 104]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

This book from Whitney Museum curator Haskell, accompanying the museum's September 2009 exhibit, contains essays by Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Bruce Robertson and Barbara Buhler Lunes, each of whom examine O'Keefe's visual vocabulary in relation to form and line, and the influence of nature, Art Nouveau and decorative art movements, and the scholarly work of Arthur Wesley Dow. O'Keefe herself described her work as an attempt to make visible "intangible feelings that were beyond her conscious grasp." O'Keefe was struck by the possibility of painting music and finding the elemental forms within "seemingly simple things"; one characteristically fascinating series, called Shell and Old Shingle, progresses from fairly accurate representation to curvilinear abstracts. Elsewhere, Robertson calls O'Keefe's Jack-in-the-Pulpit series "[O'Keefe's] most complete statement of the relationship between abstraction and representation." Also fascinating are photographs by O'Keefe's husband, gallery curator Alfred Stieglitz, accompanied by excerpts from their correspondence full of personal passion and tension, but also O'Keefe's motivations, the messages she struggled to communicate, and her sense of forever falling short. Contemporary critics labeled O'Keefe's paintings Freudian expressions of sexuality and unconscious desires, in large part because of Stieglitz's marketing, but these evaluations fall flat when looking deeply at both subject and painting; Haskell and her colleagues do full justice to their subject, with beautiful, luminous reproductions and a revealing collection of work. (Oct.)

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Although Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) has long been regarded as a central figure in 20th-century art, the abstract works she created throughout her career have remained critically and popularly overlooked in favor of her representational subjects. Beginning with charcoal drawings made in 1915, which were among the most radical creations produced in the United States at that time, O’Keeffe sought to transcribe pure emotion in her work. While her output of abstract work declined after 1930, she returned to abstraction in the 1950s with a new vocabulary that provided a precedent for a younger generation of abstractionists. By devoting itself to this largely unexplored area of her work, Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction is an overdue acknowledgment of her place as one of America’s first abstractionists.In addition to rethinking O’Keeffe’s role in the development of a uniquely American abstract style, this book chronicles the shifts and changes in subject matter and style over the span of her long career. It adds significant new insight into her life, reproducing excerpts of previously sealed letters written by O’Keeffe to photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, whom she married in 1924. These previously unpublished letters, along with other primary documents referenced by the authors, offer an intimate glimpse into her creative method and intentions as an artist.