five essential books on the American painter
“O’Keeffe tasted exquisite and delicious, and I can see why she became a fashion icon during her lifetime.”
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On the death of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe in 1986, at the age of 98, she was celebrated by the New York Times as the “undisputed dean of American painting”. Although famous for her flower paintings, she has also lived and painted some of the country’s most iconic landscapes, from the skyscrapers of New York to the deserts of New Mexico.
A major exhibition of O’Keeffe’s work opens this month at the Fondation Beyeler near Basel and the museum’s chief curator, Theodora Vischer, has selected five books that bear witness to her varied career.
Georgia O’Keeffe: a life (1989) by Roxana Robinson
“Roxana Robinson’s Full Biography is a vivid account of O’Keeffe’s remarkable artistic career. Robinson recounts in detail the artist’s long life, which, although most often associated with the American Southwest, spanned many different locations across the United States.
Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern (2017) by Wanda M. Corn
“The art and lifestyle of O’Keeffe was shaped by a modernist aesthetic. This is reflected in her wardrobe, as well as in the design and furnishings of her two homes in New Mexico. Wanda Corn has sought this decisive unity between art and life and presents her findings in this brilliant and richly illustrated catalog.
My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Vol. 1, 1915-1933 (2011) by Sarah Greenough
“O’Keeffe was a prolific writer and her extensive correspondence with Alfred Stieglitz offers an intimate glimpse into her relationship with the photographer who was her greatest supporter and later became her husband. The letters testify to the deep bond between the two, as they inspired each other.
Letters from Georgia O’Keeffe during the Texas War (2020) by Amy von Lintel
“This book features O’Keeffe’s letters written over two years while working as an art teacher in Canyon, Texas. Most of them are directed to Stieglitz and come with some excellent commentary. In this entertaining read, I met a dynamic young woman discovering her voice, participating in everything that is going on [around her]. “
A painter’s kitchen. Recipes from Georgia O’Keeffe’s Kitchen, New Edition (2009) by Margaret Wood
“When O’Keeffe moved to New Mexico, she grew a vegetable garden at her house. I’ve come across several cookbooks devoted to cooking O’Keeffe, but this recently re-edited book, written by his personal chef, is the most authentic. The recipes, based on locally grown or locally grown foods, are simple, flavorful, and look great when served. “
• Georgia o’keeffe, Fondation Beyeler, Basel, 23 January-22 May