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200 × 130 mm
256 pages
40 illustrations
03 Aug 2015
Critical Lives

Georgia O’Keeffe Nancy J. Scott

Georgia O’Keeffe, the most famous woman artist of American modernism and a pioneer in shaping abstract art, had a fiercely independent vision. In her work she created a discrete and intense world, blending the abstract with the real in interpretations of the grandeur of the high desert and of flowers, bones, shells, rocks and landscapes – her hallmark subjects. A world also formed around O’Keeffe herself, from the iconic photographic nude studies of her by Alfred Stieglitz to the images of her in her later years, taken in the magnificent landscapes of New Mexico.

This book is a sensitive and incisive examination of O’Keeffe’s groundbreaking works, their evolution, and how their reception has been caught in conflicts between O’Keeffe’s inner self and her public persona. It follows the young artist as her early abstract charcoal landscapes caught the attention of gallery impresario Stieglitz, and tells the story of their partnership, of Stieglitz’s nudes and the development of O’Keeffe’s reputation as a sexually inspired, Freudian-minded artist.

Unique to this biography is the use of O’Keeffe’s letters – which have only recently been made available – as source material. The artist’s words are shown to be just as revelatory as her paintings. The result is a succinct yet comprehensive account of the long life and fertile body of work of one of the most important artists of the twentieth century.

'Nancy J. Scott’s thoroughly researched biography steers its way through the theories, putting them firmly in their historical place. It adopts a straightforward, measured approach to O’Keeffe’s life and work, frequently using the artist’s own words drawn from her voluminous correspondence.’ – The Art Newspaper

‘Nancy Scott’s thoroughly researched book on Georgia O’Keeffe reads like a novel. Using the artist’s own words to bring her alive, Scott offers a fresh perspective on the painter’s life and work within the context of world events. This introduction to one of the twentieth century’s most influential American artists should appeal to novice and scholar alike.’ – Lisa Mintz Messinger, former curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and author of Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O’Keeffe (2011).

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Nancy Scott is Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachussetts. She has taught and published on twentieth-century American modernism with a focus on O’Keeffe, Stieglitz and the artists of his circle.