Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Faraway One

O'Keeffe & Stieglitz, ©Arnold Newman, 1944

Him:

"Stieglitz was temperamentally drawn to difficulty, both in the processes and the subjects of photography. Among his best-known early photographs are Manhattan street scenes under extreme visual conditions. He loved the melancholy of reflections caught in rainy streets at dusk."

Her:

"O’Keeffe joked that she came from the “tale end of the earth”; the charmingly misspelled word suggests that there was something legendary, like a fairy tale, about her upbringing."

Georgia O'Keeffe, ©Algred Stieglitz, 1918

A wonderful article in the New York Review of Books by Christopher Benfey on the publication of the correspondence between Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keefe entitled 'My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Volume 1, 1915-1933' edited by Sarah Greenough.

I am always drawn to collections of correspondence from Van Gough to Hunter Thompson. Letters always seem to reveal huge depths about the individual's inner lives that perhaps are only present on the surface in their work proper. They're the reality TV of the artistic retrospective.

Benfey's article is a great read, Stieglitz, some 24 years older than his muse, seemed magnetically drawn to the burning talent of O'Keeffe, becoming, at the instant they met, both a dependent and a devotee of her work and of her body.

His possessiveness of all things 'Georgian' extended as far as his desire to be cremated with 'Blue Lines X', a work of hers that he felt represented their mutual being.

“In a way it’s criminal to ask you to have it accompany me beyond all Pain or Ecstasy—but I must take it with me.”

Blue Lines X, Georgia O'Keeffe, 1916



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