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Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

"Readers will welcome what Lisle has found. The woman who emerges has extraordinary personal stature, artistic gifts, commitment to her vision." --(Chicago Tribune) Recollections of more than one... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Portrait That the Artist Would Have Enjoyed

When author Laurie Lisle advised the artist, Georgia O'Keeffe, that hers was a story Lisle "wanted to tell," O'Keeffe, as was her wont, elected not to participate but told Lisle, "you are welcome to what you find." ("Forward and Acknowledgments.") Lisle, equipped with a passion for her subject and steadfastness of purpose - qualities similar to those governing O'Keeffe's own work and life - pored through museum bulletins and exhibition catalogue notes, magazine and newspaper articles, memoirs about O'Keeffe's artistic peers (including her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz), and O'Keeffe's letters preserved in Yale's Beinecke Rare Book Library. She spoke with O'Keeffe's schoolmates, in-laws, and friends. And, of course, she viewed O'Keeffe's creations. There is not one spot of color in this book except for the auburn and gold lettering on the jacket of my paperback. The sixteen pages of photographs in the book, only four of which show O'Keeffe posing with her art, are black-and-white. One imagines, had the artist participated in this project and accepted that a literary work, with an artist as its subject, could be as beautiful and fascinating as the flowers, skulls, rivers, and stones she captured in her own paintings, O'Keeffe would have appreciated the lack of color. For much of her life, O'Keeffe's signature garb was black with a touch of white, due to a belief that admirers ought to focus on the art, not the artist. While reading this book, one obviously is tempted to take occasional breaks from Lisle's gorgeously plain, non-effusive prose to google O'Keeffe's paintings. After I read about O'Keeffe's initiation into the jet age, where she was surprised to peer down from her airplane window and "see so many rivers, tributaries, and deltas undulating through the earth's deserts" ("Chapter 13: Clouds"), I just had to view "It Was Red and Pink." However, this book clearly is not an art critique. Paintings are discussed insofar as they provide insight into O'Keeffe's mind, heart, and soul. Most of the time, while reading, I stayed far away from the computer. I was riveted by tales about family, femininity, marriage, the artist's apparent struggle between remaining dedicated to painting and perhaps having a baby, the conflict between how she and the public perceived her work, intimations of mortality, and a devotion to the splendors of New Mexico even after her eyesight failed. I would recommend this book to anyone who relishes art, history, New Mexico, femininism, humanity, or just would love to read a great book.

great book

For so many years to me, Georgia O'Keeffe was just a well-known woman artist who painted flowers. Thanks to this book I came away feeling that I got to truly know and admire this artist and now I can look at her pictures differently with a deeper understanding and appreciation for them. Thanks to this book I think I have learned to look at the beauty in nature in a different way and feel that this book has taught me much about people and truly opened my eyes in many ways to the world around me and made me curious about different areas of our wonderful country. Very enlightening in many ways and definitely worth reading.

From Wisconsin to New Mexico: An incredible life.

There are parts of New Mexico that, if you know of the woman, just scream This is Georgia O'Keeffe Country. This honest and admiring biography lays out the story of this incredible woman who lived to age 99. That's a long, long, long life. Her life found its trajectory when, in 1916, a friend sent some of her drawings to renowned photographer Alfred Stieglitz. He proclaimed her to be "a woman on paper." Furious (as only O'Keeffe could be furious), she confronted him, became his lover, and eventually married him, initiating an emotional and artistic collaboration that endured until his death.O'Keeffe became a feminist before the word was even invented. When she realized that it would be impossible to become her own person while working in his shadow, she established the pattern of spending 6 months with him in NY and 6 months on her own in New Mexico, a place she always referred to as her spiritual home. Stiegitz died in 1946, and O'Keeffe lived on for another incredible half a century.If you have the opportunity to visit New Mexico, don't miss the O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe - and my all means visit her home in Abiqueque. To say it's Georgia O'Keeffe country is to put it far too mildly.

Georgia O'keeffe is a true American treasure

Having just seen the Georgia Okeeffe exibition at the Phillips Gallery in Washington, DC, I had to run out and buy a biography to learn more about this incredible artist. This book gives deep personal insight to Ms O'keeffe's life and work.

lending and losing this book should have taught me a lesson

Having read Portrait of an Artist in college I learned to appreciate the talent, determination and self reliance that success requires. It should be required reading for every young woman
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