Saturday, April 7, 2012
I have been bitten by the Georgia O'Keeffe bug! I just finished "Full Bloom - the art & life of Georgia O'Keeffee" by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp and WOW - what a wonderful read. I have some thoughts and information that caught my attention that I would like to share with you.
"I have always been very free in my approach - I paint because I like to paint. I paint what I want to paint. I painted many abstractions before I was known at all. I still paint both ways" - said Georgia. She objected the notion that an artist had to choose between abstraction & realism.
Her personality sometimes made me not like her. For example: Her friend Anita Pollitzer toiled on writing a biography of O'Keeffee. She worked for 15 years on it and when she was done Georgia refused to allow her to publish it. Anita died a year later and then 14 years after, her nephew published it " A Woman on Paper: Georgia O'Keeffe" - I need to read that one!
O'Keeffe had been compared to Vincent Van Gogh & Paul Gauguin for her decision to take herself out of mainstream to pursue her work. But the difference was that she took care of herself. She was balanced, organized, enjoying cooking and gardening (even had her own cooks/gardeneres eventually) and loved walking, hiking etc.
She was good friends with Ansel Adams and traveled with many people till her ending years.
When she got older, she eventually lost her site - macular degeneration - and that was very hard for her. She passed away in 1986, her paintings went to museums and Juan Hamilton (her assitant who cared for her in her older days) was given Ghost Ranch.
When she died there were 343 pictures in her studio-her estate was valued at $70 million. (I guess I shouldn't feel guilty of filling up my studio space with extra paintings . . hmmm. . . )
Years later, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum opened and in 2001 the Hamilton's transfered ownership of Ghost Ranch to the Burnett Foundation as a promised gift to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum & Research Center.
When I was in Santa Fe a couple years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting her museum - it was wonderful as was reading this book and researching more about her life. One thing I loved about Georgia - actually two - was her passion for her art as well as her independence and way of life!
If you get a chance you have to read it . . . I am now onto the book "Portrait of an Artist - A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe by Laurie Lisle - just can't get enough!