Friday, July 25, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Belltower: Georgia O’Keeffe show has some rare pieces

By
From page A4 | February 24, 2014 |

When we visited Santa Fe, N.M., at the end of September, the first place we went to was the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. It was a major disappointment because most of the museum was closed and all that was available were about a dozen paintings in two small rooms.

On Feb. 13 I happened to be sitting right behind the O’Keeffe Museum’s director, Robert A. Kret, where I was at a press preview for the Georgia O’Keeffe show at San Francisco’s de Young Museum. He explained his dilemma was that the museum was only 5,000 square feet, so it had to close down most of the museum to mount a new show.

The show is called “Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George.” It originated at the historical Hyde House where the Hyde Collection is based in Glen Falls, N.Y. Glen Falls, on the Hudson River, is 21 miles from  the village of Lake George. It then traveled to Santa Fe, opening Oct. 4, about a week after we visited the O’Keeffe Museum, and ran through Jan. 26. San Francisco is its final stop, where it will run through May 11.

Some of the works are recognizable, but many among the 54 works on display will be new even to O’Keeffe fans. Included among those are several paintings of Lake George that were last exhibited in 1923. Chief among this group is “Starlight Night, Lake George,” that had been held by the niece of Alfred Stieglitz, O’Keeffe’s lover, then husband. Show curator Erin B. Coe, from the Hyde Museum, said this painting has been sold to a private collector with the proviso that it be loaned for this show.

It is an unexpected and a Van Gogh-like bonus. This will be the only chance to see this painting, which illustrates the variety of scenes from which she drew inspiration for the 200 paintings she did during her summers at Lake George from 1918 to 1934.

O’Keeffe spent summers on the Stieglitz family’s 36-acre farm on Lake George. She hiked through the hills and rowed on the lake, even painting her knees and the scenery as seen from her rowboat.

“I had to create an equivalent for what I was looking at — not copy it,” said O’Keeffe.

Partly how she accomplished that, Coe pointed out in a photograph of O’Keeffe painting flowers by her “shanty” studio on the Stieglitz property, was to set her watercolor sketch pad by her side rather than in front of her.

“I said to myself, ‘I have things in my head that are not like what everyone has taught me — shapes and ideas so dear to me — so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down.’ I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught — to accept as true my own thinking,” O’Keeffe said.

Coe said O’Keeffe had a “strong attachment to place.”

Lake George is 2 miles wide and 30 miles long, with 172 islands and 200 feet deep. It is the scene of the French and Indian Wars featured in James Fennimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans.” It empties into Lake Champlain where Benedict Arnold built a fleet of ships in 1776 that fought a British fleet. Arnold’s navy was destroyed but it prevented the British using the lakes to invade New York from the north. Another naval battle there in the War of 1812 again kept the British from invading from the north. Lake George now includes a “Millionaire’s Row” of summer mansions.

O’Keeffe’s Lake George work is overlooked, but she spent 16 summers, from March through September or November, there, taking her work back to New York to finish the paintings in her studio during the winter. It was at Lake George where she developed and honed her abstraction of nature. She and Stieglitz and his wide variety of guests — poets, artists, critics, writers, photographers —  created an intellectual and artistic exchange of ideas that were part of what helped shape O’Keeffe’s art and philosophy.

A farmer’s daughter, O’Keeffe not only painted the scenery and details of Lake George, but she painted the fruits of the farm’s harvest and planted corn and petunias, which she painted.

What she accomplished at Lake George she carried over to her New Mexico work, with which most people are familiar. It was just a different place to anchor her art to.
This exhibition drew from 32 different museums as well as private collectors. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event, collecting these works from places like New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe and the National Portrait Galley in Washington, D.C. The show catalog constitutes an enduring record of this show and features a few O’Keeffe works not on exhibit.
Michael Raffety is editor of the Mountain Democrat. His column appears biweekly.

Comments

comments

Michael Raffety

.

News

 
Scaffolding issue makes for contentious meeting

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
District 2: Candidates debate jobs versus lifestyle

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Accident: 1 bullet hits 2

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
Help available for breastfeeding mothers

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

 
El Dorado County School Board vacancy

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: A8

 
.

Opinion

The weekly Daley: A good time to be there…

By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

 
Something to think about: More than what you see

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A4

Popular science

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Watch whom you’re calling ‘conservative’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Fake ‘small farms’ steal from residential EID customers

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

People of Placerville

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Computer scam phone calls

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Support of Director Prada

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Uphold the Third Amendment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Bureaucracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Imagination Theater’s play

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

Midget Lites join tomorrow’s action

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A6

 
El Dorado rallies for last-inning victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6

Sports Scene: July 24, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Quarter century later, Rypien wins ACCG again

By Andrew Hazard | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Paddle time

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

 
Rush sit a win from Series

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A7

Tasmanian Devils go undefeated

By Patty Pope | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

El Dorado wines win in Amador

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B1

 
Things to do: July 25, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

Suds entice the taste buds

By Krysten Kellum | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Rhythm and Views goes bluesy

By | From Page: B3

Have an Hawaiian vacation at Carson Road wineries

By Carson Road Winery Asociation | From Page: B3Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Summer fun is happening in Twain Harte

By Fire On | From Page: B4Comments are off for this post

Manzanita doubles the music

By Table Nectar And Manzanita | From Page: B5

 
Hands4Hope hosts school supply drive

By News Release | From Page: B6

Supergroup plays Harris Center

By Carrera Productions | From Page: B6

 
Recording artist at Busby Cellars

By News Release | From Page: B6

Artists invited to go western

By Art On The Divide | From Page: B7

 
Visit Tahoe artists during tour

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B7

Reggae on the River celebrates 30 years

By Reggae On | From Page: B7Comments are off for this post

 
.

Essentials

Lake levels 7-24-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 11-13

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Building permits 7/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

 
Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

.

Comics

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Sunday, July 27, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
Horoscope, Saturday, July 26, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Friday, July 25, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
.

Home Source

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4