Alfred Stieglitz, the avant-garde photographer and gallerist who later became her husband, created a series of more than 300 photographs of O’Keeffe during the course of his life.
“We are especially proud to offer the first look at these recent acquisitions, including photographs that span O’Keeffe’s life from New York to New Mexico,” says Robert A. Kret, director of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. ”New Photography Acquisitions" includes many rarely seen images of O’Keeffe, one of the most photographed women of the 20th century, by some of the most well-known photographers of her day.”
“It is wonderful to see these insightful images,” says Carolyn Kastner, curator of the exhibition, “which include beautiful gelatin silver prints from Alfred Stieglitz, Philippe Halsman, and Ansel Adams, whose mastery of their media is a great complement to O’Keeffe’s paintings.”
Alfred Stieglitz, the avant-garde photographer and gallerist who later became her husband, created a series of more than 300 photographs of O’Keeffe during the course of his life, beginning in 1917. Several images from 1918, are included in the exhibition. One is famous for picturing O’Keeffe in the act of painting (one of only two known to do so), while others, which have not previously been published, frame intimate moments at Lake George, where the couple spent the summer and fall at the Stieglitz family home.
After Stieglitz’s death and O’Keeffe’s move to the remote village of Abiquiu in New Mexico, the artist continued to be a subject of interest to important photographers of the day, who journeyed to New Mexico and captured the artist in her environment, at home and in the landscape. Important portrait photographers such as Philippe Halsman, Yousuf Karsh, John Loengard, Arnold Newman and Tony Vaccaro followed her west. O’Keeffe friends Ansel Adams and Todd Webb, famous for their landscape photography, composed portraits of the artist–working the stark New Mexico scenery into the frame. Later pictures by Doris Bry, George Daniell, and Arnold Newman portray O’Keeffe in her New Mexico homes and in the surrounding landscape.
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s photographic archive numbers more than 2,000 images. It forms a valuable record of the many ways that O’Keeffe presented herself to the camera in formal portraits as well as in candid snapshots with friends and family. Since the Museum was founded in 1997, its collection of photographs has grown steadily, primarily through gifts. The largest gift of more than 1000 photographs was presented to the Museum in 2006 by the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation. That collection, assembled by the artist during her long life, became part of her estate after her death in 1986.
Similarly, the new acquisitions included in this exhibition, part of a collection purchased by the Museum in 2014, are unique because O’Keeffe selected the photographs for James Johnson Sweeney, the curator of her 1946 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. The acquisitions include a wide range of materials such as fine art prints, copy prints, negatives, contact sheets, and documentary photographs.
The Museum’s photographic archive also constitutes a collection of work by contemporaries of O’Keeffe who were recognized photographers in their own right as well as friends and visitors to New Mexico. The creative practice of O’Keeffe, her husband Alfred Stieglitz, and the photographers in the Museum’s collection span the 20th century and the rise of American Modernism. “New Photography Acquisitions” will be on view March 27 – September 26, 2015
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