Georgia O'Keeffe: American and Modern by Charles C. Eldredge
Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings - the exquisite recesses of flowers, the southwestern hills, clouds, and bleached bones, the sculptural abstract forms painted in strong, clear colours - are beloved by critics and public alike. This book examines O'Keeffe's life and work, focusing on the quintessential American qualities of her art and her idiosyncratic way of seeing. Charles C. Eldredge begins with a discussion of O'Keeffe as an American artist, describing the openly nationalistic billing that her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz, gave to her New York one-woman show in 1923, the ways in which she fits into an American tradition in painting that extends back to Copley and the Peale family, and her reluctance to be influenced by foreign art trends. Recounting how O'Keeffe left New York and returned to the rural subjects of her childhood, Eldredge shows that the artist's preoccupation with subjects such as barns not only reflected an urge to paint "something I know" but also aligned her with the Transcendentalist tradition in American thought. Eldredge explores the psychoanalytic speculation surrounding the strong element of sexuality in O'Keeffe's work, setting her in the context of America's awakening enthusiasm for Freudian theorizing and assessing the extent to which her work can be seen as feminine self-revelation. He describes O'Keeffe's modernity, her innovative readiness to push her art towards abstraction and serial art. And he analyzes her aesthetic vision, which, moulded by western landscape, the photographic techniques absorbed from Stieglitz, and her faith in a spiritual cosmos, helped her to create a unique body of work. This book, which reproduces a rich selection of O'Keeffe's paintings, and includes full commentary for each work, will serve as the catalogue for an exhibition of O'Keeffe's work opening at London's Hayward Gallery in April 1993 and then moving on to Mexico City and Yokohama.