Friday, January 21, 2011

Georgia on my Mind

Alfred Stieglitz was 54 when Georgia arrived in New York...23 years her senior. Educated in Berlin, he had studied engineering and photography before returning to the States at the turn of the century and opening the 291 gallery. He pioneered the art of photography, and single-handedly introduced America to the works of Picasso, Matisse, and Cezanne at the gallery...along with publishing his well respected "Camera Works" magazine.
Shortly after her arrival, Alfred took Georgia up to the Stieglitz family home at Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains. They would return to the lake home each summer for years to come. Georgia produced many paintings of the Lake George countryside during these years.
Stieglitz had become obsessed with photographing Georgia since the beginning of their relationship. He would take over 300 portraits of her between 1918 and 1937. Most of the more erotic poses would be in the first few years of their marriage.  Read more here

  Georgia O'Keeffe—Hand and Breasts

This photograph, one of more than 300 images Stieglitz made of O'Keeffe (1887–1986) between 1917 and 1937, is part of an extraordinary composite portrait. Stieglitz believed that portraiture concerned more than merely the face and that it should be a record of a person's entire experience, a mosaic of expressive movements, emotions, and gestures that would function collectively to evoke a life. "To demand the portrait that will be a complete portrait of any person," he claimed, "is as futile as to demand that a motion picture be condensed into a single still."

The photographs of O'Keeffe taken in those first twenty four months document the most intense, passionate, and complex transaction ever recorded between a man and woman by a camera. Stieglitz's portrait embraces the most public and private extremes of O'Keeffe's being: icons of a remote, enigmatic woman that merged with her paintings to create her identity as artist together with sexual explorations of her body so intimate they have yet to be published

Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe
Arnold Newman


(1997.61.19) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art)


  1. I like the photos of her hands best.

  2. These are extraordinary, both for their execution and, even more so, for their conception.

    That neck photo totally slayed me.

    Thanks for sharing your interest and your finds with us, PS!

  3. nice photographs with details.... thanks for sharing :)

  4. aren't these just amazing, when i read you were doing a piece on them, her, i ran right over, practically tripping to get here, knowing it would be good and it's more than's absolutely stunning, you have some here i have never seen...i do like her hands both on her chest as well as together...very intense...all very intense, as must have been she as well....thanks so much for sharing these, it's a high point of my rather depressing day. xox

  5. I first encountered some of these images (and many more, particularly of her hands) when I was a student at East Carolina University's art department. I was overwhelmed by the compositions, the earthy intensity of her face and body, Stieglitz' obsession for her, and the long grace of her fingers. It seems inevitable to me that those fingers would make passionate love, powerful paintings that beg to be stroked and gripped, and eventually, when she was in her nineties, clay vessels that seem a natural conclusion of her life long passion for form, volume, and light. The photos were so vivid to me that I seemed to remember her voice, her fragrance, the sound of her bare feet on stone floors.

    I recall reading that the nudes were somewhat notorious at the time, and they propelled her career in some circles while holding her back in others.

    Her work has influenced my own feelings for shapes and shading. I would put her in my top ten for impact on my own painting.

    Thanks for posting these - some I've never seen before.

  6. The one of her throat has me captivated. A beautiful woman, to be sure. To do this for a man is to forget the camera and the other eyes. It is to be in love. It is to be art.

    Thanks for this post.

    (A five-day school week ahead of us, or no? Stay tuned.....)

  7. «Louis» had forgotten about Alfred Stieglitz and his connection to O'Keefe, and he thanks you for this moving reminder.

  8. Thank you all. You've made my day.

    Steve: you have a gift for thoughtful, beautifully written comments. It's so good to see you here. I'm enjoying the latest painting you're working on.

    Sandy: beautifully stated, as always. Thank you.

    Lib: I don't know which I would pick if I had to pick a favorite...

    Louis: Il n’y a pas de quoi, monsieur la Vache!


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