Most people associate Georgia O’Keeffe with New Mexico, painted cow skulls, and her “vagina” flower paintings.
She was revered for so long-born in 1887, died at age ninety-eight in 1986-that we forget how young, restless, passionate, searching, striking, even fearful she once was-a dazzling, mysterious female force in bohemian New York City during its heyday.
As a student at the Art Students’ League in New York O’Keeffe had a reputation as a fun-loving party girl who loved to dance. People called her Patsy.
O’Keeffe is the second most photographed woman in the 20th century, after Greta Garbo. Her husband, Alfred Steiglitz made at least 500 photos of her, some of which were too explicit to show.
She loved hiking so much that when she set out she would intentionally wear uncomfortable shoes she that she would be forced to turn back and go to work.
She was so frugal she sewed her own underwear.
SOME LIFE LESSONS
Few artists have cared so little about the opinions of others. “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant,” she said, “Making your unknown known is the important thing.” Also, “Flattery and criticism go down the drain and I am quite free.”
She was an early adopter of voluntary simplicity believing, “The best course is the one that leaves your mind the freest.”
"There is a bit of a bitch in every good cook" (A note O’Keeffe wrote to herself on the inside cover of one of her cookbooks.)
Karen Karbo is the author of HOW GEORGIA BECAME O’KEEFFE. Karbo is most well known for her best-selling Kick Ass Women series, the most recent of which is How Georgia Became O’Keeffe, published in 2013. Karen grew up in Los Angeles, California and lives in Portland, Oregon where she continues to kick ass.