GEORGIA O'KEEFE by Georgia O'Keefe
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My first memory is of the brightness of light--light all around. I was sitting among pillows on a quilt on the ground--very large white pillows. The quilt was a cotton patchwork of two kinds of material. . . ."" So begins this O'Keefe retrospective, which pairs superior color reproductions, suggestive of the originals in size (the pages are 12 x 16), with the artist's running reminiscences and observations. ""It was in the fall of 1915 that I first had the idea that what I had been taught was of little value to me except for the use of materials as a language. . . . But what was I to say with them? I had been taught to work like others and after careful thinking I decided that I wasn't going to spend my life doing what had already been done. . . . I began with charcoal and paper and decided not to use any color until it was impossible to do what I wanted in black and white. I believe it was June before I needed blue."" For Blue Lines, a foretaste of Clifford Still. With the pictures, she recounts her first experience of the plains and canyons of the Southwest, her rediscovery of Manhattan's dramatic vistas; explains why the large flowers, the Lake George barn, the gray shingle and white clam shell from Maine, the odd, enigmatic Cow's Skull: ""I'll make it an American painting. They will not think it great with the red stripes down the sides--Red, White and Blue--but they will notice it."" She returns often to ""the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it""--and as the reader, looking, will absorb it. Critical judgments are absent, and irrelevant; the one aid is a chronology at the close. With only the commentary, set in a light italic to approximate script, and those enveloping pictures, this discreet volume affords total exposure to a personal, reverberating oeuvre.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1976
Publisher: Viking