Synopses & Reviews
Most people associate Georgia OKeeffe with New Mexico, painted cow skulls, and her 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.
In this distinctive book, Karen Karbo cracks open the OKeeffe icon in her characteristic style, making one of the greatest women painters in American history vital and relevant for yet another generation. She chronicles OKeeffes early life, her desire to be an artist, and the key moment when art became her form of self-expression. She also explores OKeeffes passionate love affair with master photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who took a series of 500 black-and-white photographs of OKeeffe during the early years of their marriage.
How Georgia Became OKeeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living delves into the long, extraordinary life of the renowned American painter, exploring a range of universal themes—from how to discover and nurture your individuality to what it means to be in a committed relationship while maintaining your independence, from finding your own style to developing the ability to take risks. Each chapter is built around an aspect of living that concerns women today of all ages: how to find your own path; work with passion and conviction; express yourself; be in a relationship without sacrificing your sense of self; and do it all with an effortless, unique style.
As with Karbos previous books, How Georgia Became O'Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living is not a traditional biography, but rather a compelling, contemporary reassessment of the life of OKeeffe with an eye toward understanding what we can learn from her way of being in the world.
"Choosing to examine and extract lessons from famed artist Georgia O'Keeffe's personal life rather than dissect her oeuvre, the author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel ponders what it is about O'Keeffe that speaks to us so deeply and what went on inside the artist to allow her to defy society's conventions and be so 'resolutely herself' in the service of an abiding passion.' Growing up on a Wisconsin farm and left to her own devices by a withholding mother gave O'Keeffe the freedom to create her own vision. In her 20s, measles derailed an early career in commercial art, and a short stint teaching art in a remote Texas public school turned her on to the beauty of extreme landscape and how isolation could spark inspiration. O'Keeffe's marriage to the much older legendary photographer Alfred Stieglitz was bumpy; he was overbearing and unfaithful, but he believed in her vision and genius. This intimate, quirky, and sassy essay makes its iconic subject into an accessible, relevant figure with whom readers, particularly women, can identify. But Karbo's constant wisecracking and self-referencing grow tiresome, and her adoration of O'Keeffe lacks intellectually rigorous discussion of the art itself. Illus. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Karen Karbo's fresh and revealing take on the epic life of Georgia O'Keeffe is both effortlessly entertaining and profoundly inspirational. As vivid and original as an O'Keeffe flower, How Georgia Became O'Keeffe offers a quirky, modern view of one of America's most iconic women.”
—Sheila Weller, author of Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon—And the Journey of a Generation.
A fresh, revealing look at the artist who continues to inspire new generations of women.
About the Author
Karen Karbo is the author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel (skirt!) and How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great, which the Philadelphia Inquirer called “an exuberant celebration of a great original.” Her three novels were all named New York Times notable books, and The Stuff of Life, her memoir about her father, was a People Magazine Critics Pick and winner of the Oregon Book Award.