Georgia O’Keeffe moved into, out of and around West Texas in her twenties, and the wide open skies she found there changed her life. For several years she taught art, soaked up the atmosphere, and made some of her most enduring work, like “Evening Star VI, 1917.”
“That evening star fascinated me. It was in some way very exciting to me. My sister had a gun, and as we walked she would throw bottles into the air and shoot as many as she could before they hit the ground. I had nothing but to walk into nowhere and the wide sunset space with the star. Ten watercolors were made from that star,” O’Keeffe is to have said, according to Joan Didion.
Those works, and others, known as the Canyon Suite, were painted during the year before she moved back to New York City to become famous. Wandering around Marfa, Texas myself these last few days, I love to imagine the landscape through the eyes of Georgia O’Keeffe, and to imagine O’Keeffe through the eyes of Alfred Stieglitz, who became her lover back in the city.
It sounds incredibly romantic down there in Marfatexas. I’ve never been a big fan of O’Keefe’s work but that Starlit Night is spectacular.
I completely agree. Her work was never big on my list, but that watercolor, and the idea of GO walking around with her sister shooting off guns in the twilight really did it for me.
Thanks for writing!
Everyone likes to put Georgia O’Keefe down. And I think it is because of her figurative work in the West, all those adobe houses in the harsh sunlight, the steer horns and such. But she was a sensational artists, way ahead of her time, as one can discover at a show of her abstract works begun in 1911 and carried out through her life. They are now on exhibit at the Phillips Collection here in Washington and they simply take your breath away. Come on down before the show ends. It will surprise and delight.
Thanks, Loren! The more I learn about GO the more I’d like to learn. And the Phillips show sounds fantastic.
My three year old and I have been reading Jeanette Winter’s “My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait.” It may be largely due to a shared fascination for cow skulls, but he’s quite taken by her. Years ago I had a transformative moment at her “Sky Above Clouds IV” at AIC. (She painted it in her 70s, which alone is inspiring.) Certainly, Winter’s next book should feature the gun-toting sister! Though that may be a harder sell with today’s parents. 🙂
Thanks again for your great posts.
Hi Lori, Your 3 year-old has a good eye! I just looked at that book on Amazon. The illustrations are great. Thanks for writing!
All best wishes,
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