Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life / Edition 1

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Georgia O'Keeffe is arguably the 20th century's leading woman artist. Coming of age along with American modernism, her life was rich in intense relationships — with family, friends, and especially noted photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Her struggle between the rigorous demands of love and work resulted in extraordinary accomplishments. Her often-eroticized flowers, bones, stones, skulls, and pelvises became extremely well known to a broad American public. The New York Times Book Review named this richly detailed and moving biography a Notable Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Chockablock with intriguing detail, some apt insight, and best of all, O'Keeffe's own voice – in her letters and in the words of her family and friends who wouldn't talk to anyone before the artist's death at the age of 98 in 1986. It gives us the first sensible discussion of how photography influenced O'Keeffe's painting –her closeups, wide angles, cropping, distortion of scale, and zooms." —Ms. Magazine
Hayden Herrera
...[D]oes much to give body to the O'Keeffe myth. The author presents a person who was both vulnerable and fiercepassionate and coolly withholdingsensuous yet oddly unsexual. —The New York Times Book Review1989
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This biography, the first to draw on sources unavailable during O'Keeffe's lifetime--and the first to be granted her family's cooperation--offers a persuasive feminist analysis of the life and work of an iconic figure in American art. Inspired by strong women in a Midwestern family that stressed a sturdy sense of self-reliance, O'Keeffe bucked oppressive social conventions to become one of the first female American artists to lead a professionally successful and emancipated life. But along the way lay struggle: O'Keeffe had to fight for emotional and artistic independence in her public and private lives, experiencing particular difficulties in her relationships with men, most notably her benefactor and husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Novelist Robinson's ( Summer Light ) detailed, sensitive critique of O'Keeffe's work, tracing the development of the artist's esthetic, alternates with an absorbing, intimate narrative of O'Keeffe's personal life (including her notorious relationship with Juan Hamilton, six decades her junior, and the public battle over her estate) to provide a resourceful, imaginatively rendered portrait of a dauntingly difficult subject. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC alternate. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The painter Georgia O'Keeffe lived a long and complicated life, and her work has become a cultural icon, so demand for this title should be great. It is by no means a definitive biography, however. Novelist Robinson has clearly done her homework, but the uses to which she puts it are sometimes curious. After quoting a passage from O'Keeffe's correspondence, she cannot resist reiterating what she thinks the painter felt, even though O'Keeffe has just told us. Elsewhere, the description of an early romantic relationship of O'Keeffe's is vividly delineated, but we learn only in a footnote that the letters on which the description is based are only conjecturally from the man in question. While Robinson at times veers toward sentimentality in writing about the artist's life, she never does so about the work, and she treats the emotional complexity of O'Keeffe's marriage to Alfred Stieglitz and relationship with her companion Juan Hamilton with intelligence and care. Still, she wears the reader out (it takes 200 pages to get to Stieglitz's first showing of her work). This might have been a happier book as a novelization. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido, ``Library Journal''
A big, impressive, and well crafted biography of a remarkable woman, artist, human. Robinson was able to gain the cooperation of the O'Keefe family. A fine job. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Hayden Herrera
...[D]oes much to give body to the O'Keeffe myth. The author presents a person who was both vulnerable and fierce, passionate and coolly withholding, sensuous yet oddly unsexual.
The New York Times Book Review, 1989
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874519068
  • Publisher: University Press of New England
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 679
  • Sales rank: 527,150
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

ROXANA ROBINSON is an art historian and novelist. Among her books of fiction are This Is My Daughter (1998), Asking for Love and Other Stories (1996), and Summer Light (1995).

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Table of Contents

Pt. I 1887-1902: Sun Prairie: The Wide and Generous Land 1
Pt. II 1903-1918: Distant Skies: Explorations and Initiations 35
Pt. III 1919-1928: An Ordered Life: Manhattan and Lake George 201
Pt. IV 1929-1946: A Fair Division: New York and New Mexico 313
Pt. V 1947-1972: A Peaceful Life: The Land of Shining Stone 467
Pt. VI 1973-1986: Withdrawal: The Dying of the Light 521
Sources and Codes for Notes 561
Notes 565
Selected Bibliography 609
Index 617
Illustrations: Sources and Credits 637
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Customer Reviews

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