Synopses & Reviews
"Kathleen Pyne meticulously reconstructs the artistic lives of the important-but relatively overlooked-women artists of Alfred Stieglitz's circle. She demonstrates that Stieglitz's interactions with these artists shaped his subsequent promotion of Georgia O'Keeffe's artistic identity through the Freudian-inflected trope of the 'woman-child.' Thus, however well known O'Keeffe may be to contemporary audiences, Pyne's analysis effectively resituates her iconic presence within a broader, gendered field of American modernism."and#151;Marcia Brennan, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History, Rice University
"This book is a fascinating study of Stieglitz's 'prototypes' for Georgia O'Keeffeand#151;the modern women artists he promoted and encouraged before he decided on O'Keeffe as the icon who surpassed them all. Modernism and the Feminine Voice will not only open up O'Keeffe studies but also reinvigorate interest in the more quixotic artists such as Anne Brigman left in O'Keeffe's wake."and#151;Alexander Nemerov, Professor in the Department of the History of Art, Yale University
"Pyne widens the field of vision around the art of Georgia O'Keeffe in order to sharpen our focus on it. Our understanding of the sexual politics of modernism is deeply enriched and nuanced by this important book."and#151;Michael Leja, Professor in the Department of History of Art, University of Pennsylvania
"This engaging and original study of American modernism finally places Georgia O'Keeffe in the context of her female peers. Pyne draws upon rich primary sources and lively contemporary influences that include Henri Bergson, Havelock Ellis, and Sigmund Freud. She makes explicit what Alfred Stieglitz meant by 'female creativity,' and how he went about finding it, giving due emphasis to the role played by sexuality in the emergence of the modernist female artist."and#151;Gail Levin, author of Becoming Judy Chicago: A Biography of the Artist
This opulently illustrated book reveals how Alfred Stieglitz's search for a pure, essential and#147;woman in artand#8221; led him to several women before his vision found ultimate expression in Georgia Oand#8217;Keeffe, whom Stieglitz portrayed as the shining, liberated feminine figure of his movement. Modernism and the Feminine Voice explores a group of extraordinary women who developed their voices through an affiliation with the Stieglitz circleand#151;Gertrude Kand#228;sebier, Pamela Colman Smith, Anne Brigman, and Katharine Nash Rhoadesand#151;and shows how these artists helped define the woman modernist through their lives and their individual photographs and paintings. Profoundly revising Stieglitz's story of the woman modernist as embodied in the person and imagery of Georgia O'Keeffe, this pioneering book demonstrates that Oand#8217;Keeffe was one voice among several which deserve recognition as the vanguard of American modernism. Kathleen Pyne adds fascinating but overlooked material to the history of modernism in New York with this book, which accompanies a major exhibition of the artistsand#8217; works.
In contrast to previous views of O'Keeffe's self-identity as that of either a forceful, hard-working professional or a strong, erotically charged woman, Pyne posits a new theory, that O'Keeffe had a secret self-identity that was indebted to Stieglitz's notion of the feminine voice as intuitive and childlike yet resistant to his eroticizing. While Stieglitz succeeded in canonizing O'Keeffe as the lone woman artist of modernism in New York, he based his image of O'Keeffe as the ideal woman on the contributions of the earlier women photographers and painters explored here. With abundant illustrations and detailed discussions of each artist's work, this engrossing book argues convincingly that O'Keeffe was not the only woman artist in the Stieglitz circle worthy of our contemplation.
About the Author
Kathleen Pyne is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Notre Dame and author of Art and the Higher Life: Painting and Evolutionary Thought in Late Nineteenth-Century America.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1. The Photo-Secession and the Death of the Mother: Gertrude Kand#228;sebier and Pamela Colman Smith
2. The Speaking Body and the Feminine Voice: Anne Brigman
3. The Feminine Voice and the Woman-Child: Katharine Nash Rhoades and Georgia Oand#8217;Keeffe
4. The Burden and the Promise of the Woman-Child: Oand#8217;Keeffe in the 1920s