PJAS 11 Spring-4

Edyta Frelik
She Did Know a Few Things: Georgia O’Keefe as an Intellectual
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 11 (Spring 2017), pp. 41-58

Abstract: Despite the fact that Georgia O’Keefe is one of the most biographized, analyzed and interpreted modern American artists, her writings, which include voluminous correspondence, numerous artist statements and an autobiographical narrative, remain underrated. Taking at face value the painter’s disclaimers about her intellectual interests and ambitions and her insistence that she was “quite illiterate,” art historians and critics all too often fail to note that even when, as the only prominent female member of the Stieglitz circle, she seemed to accept the role assigned to her by “the men,” she retained her intellectual integrity. Even though she sometimes seemed to confirm such a perception, a closer look at her texts reveals that, well-educated and well-informed, she possessed literary skills on par with her plastic sensibility and imagination. Her use of verbal language, even more than her paintings, testifies to her unique intuition, intelligence and aesthetic sensibility as a quintessential American modernist.

Keywords: Georgia O’Keefe, American art, modernism, intellectualism, gender stereotyping, artists’ writings

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.11/1/2017.04

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