Remember back in the old days when you’d write a letter? You’d pick out stationery. You’d buy stamps. You’d spill your guts on a physical page. Well, I bet you and your crush at the time had nada compared to the amount of correspondence that passed between Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Tweets and e-mails just don’t seem very romantic in comparison.
The famous pair exchanged more than 25,000 pieces of paper between 1915 and 1946. Art, not love, is what brought them together, and even after their love blossomed, it was art that kept their non-traditional union alive, especially given their long absences, he at Lake George in New York and she in Taos, then Ghost Ranch and at the little village of Abiquiu.
Anita Pollitzer, a friend of O’Keeffe’s, was the first to show Stieglitz some charcoal drawings that the young teacher, living at that time in the small town of Canyon, Texas, had created. Pollitzer may be the person most responsible for O’Keeffe’s fortuitous break on her now well known path to fame.
I guess you could say Pollitzer had the confidence in her friend’s work to break a confidence. And, that risk arose from an earlier conversation between the two when O’Keeffe admitted that more than anyone, if she could get someone to exhibit her work, she’d want it to be Stieglitz, the famous photographer and more importantly, a purveyor of the introduction of all that was fresh and modern in art in New York at the time. He introduced Rodin and Cezanne and Picasso through his little gallery 291 on Fifth Avenue when the works of these famous European artists had never been exhibited in the U.S.A. and to much bru-ha-ha.
Join me on May 7, 7:30 pm at the New Westminster Public Library where I’ll share my experiences of visiting the ranch, Santa Fe, and Taos with photos and anecdotes about O’Keeffe that I’ve gleaned through extensive reading.