The Flag

“THE FLAG” 1918

A profoundly humane treatment of O’Keeffe and all the people who figured prominently in her long life.” 
Los Angeles Times

     The above quotation from the Los Angeles Times is on the cover of Roxana Robinson’s book, “Georgia O’Keeffe:  A Life.”  Before I read it recently I did not know that much about this artist’s personal life other than that she was married to the photographer Alfred Stieglitz and spent her last years in New Mexico.  Robinson begins with the first O’Keeffes who emigrated from Ireland and settled in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin in 1848 and ends with her death in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1996 at the age of 98.  In the pages between she reveals the life of the artist sometimes most know for her large flowers and her vision of the Southwest that included animal skulls.

     For her time even as a young woman she was quite liberated as she pursued her education and art and dressed as she pleased.  She moved to New York where she studied art and met Alfred Stieglitz for the first time.  For a time she taught art in Amarillo, Texas and apparently fell in love with the desolate landscape.  A few years later she fell in love with Stieglitz.

     From reading this biography it seems to me that O’Keeffe struggled to balance her need for independence and her passion for creating art (she called it her “work) with the obligations of married life.  She and Stieglitz had no children together so she did not have to factor in the responsibilities of motherhood.

     Although her marriage was unconventional, perhaps she was no different from women today who have to make choices about career, marriage and children.  It takes a strong woman to make the difficult choices; Georgia O’Keeffe must have been a strong woman.

Georgia O’Keeffe
1887 – 1996



  1. a beautiful soul that created beautiful art…
    she is one of my favorites…
    Thank you for sharing…
    Take Care…


  2. You continue to inform, educate and inspire us with your blog posts! I tend to merrily skip through life and enjoy and investigate things here and there. You have given me a new insight into this amazing woman. I shall look at each piece of her work through a different eye. The flag painting is brilliant……..have never seen it before. She does seem so very interesting.


    • Oh, Tin Man, I think I skip here and there with my posts to write about what interests me and am glad when someone finds it of interest too. You educate us with your travel pieces! I had never seen The Flag before but was taken by it too. She was quite liberated and enjoyed the life tolerance of Taos. Your comments are always important to me.


  3. I have always loved her work, especially her desolate deserts. As much as I love being near water, I also love being in wide open spaces and Georgia O’Keefe painted those spaces to speak to my heart.

    I will have to search out the book and PBS show. Thanks for the heads up.


    • I love New Mexico – Santa Fe, Taos – and think I could live there as I like the simplicity of the land and space and architecture. I live on the coast but the openness is almost like the openness of the desert where sky and land/water blend. Her marriage was unconventional and she would need time away from Stieglitz and had male and female friends. I would like to see the PBS show also. Your comments are always appreciated!


  4. Fascinating woman who rendered such beautiful works. It would be a great read to read this one or another about her life. I love her very muted pastels that appear almost white. Thank you for stopping by my site today. I too, enjoyed exploring your site.


  5. I missed this post while I was reorganizing so I wouldn’t miss posts… Figures.
    I don’t know much about O’Keefe. I wonder if this book is out of print. I’ll check. Thank you as usual for your always informing my view of the world, Jo Nell. I look forward to it every post. Please share MORE. 🙂


    • I know what you mean about missing posts! And I didn’t know much about her either until I found the book at a library sale last fall. I think it was published in 1989. You know when I was reading about the way she painted really large flowers or items that filled up the canvas. I thought of the way you photograph plants/flowers and items up very close George and Georgia…


  6. Thanks, Yes, I’ve always thought she was an extraordinary and strong woman. I know only the basics of her life – the book will go on my list. I saw a show of hers in DC in mid-80s. Her huge canvases of clouds seen from a plane are also favorites on mine, and many of the flowers – not so much bones.


    • Unfortunately, I have never been to the museum on my visits to New Mexico. They were always short trips and there is so much to see in those wide open spaces. The next trip it will be at the top of my list! Thanks for taking time to comment!


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