Thursday, November 28, 2019

Georgia Okeeffe Essays (1340 words) - Humanities, Culture, Feminism

Georgia O'keeffe Georgia OKeeffe was an artist of world renown but a person of mysterious character. She lived a unique life which was not accepted as moral by most people. She surrounded herself with artistic, creative minds and carefully selected her friends and confidants. Events in her youth influenced her actions and artwork for almost 100 years. OKeeffe moved about the country, a lover of travel who never was satiated. She came from an eccentric family with mixed ethnic heritage, and the women around her were strong and self- confident. Her life was an epic tale, worthy of retelling. On November 15, 1887, Georgia was second born of seven children to Ida and Francis OKeeffe. Living in rural Wisconsin, her father came from a typical Irish Catholic matriarchy, where mothers word was final. Ida OKeeffe was an ambitious woman whose dream of becoming a doctor was laid to her marriage to the tenant farmer a loveless union (Hogrefe 13). Perhaps it was the stifling of her ambition that led Ida to treat Georgia so badly. As a young girl, the artist was described as precocious, mentally mature, and queen of the castle, whether it be in relation to her siblings or fellow students in the studio. Either way, her mother was generally a cold person who offered little affection to her oldest daughter, even going so far as to lock her in the back room, alone, when company came. Thus, Georgia turned to a close relationship with her father. The family knew that Georgia was Franks favorite, and he took her on excursions and gave her special privileges. All this came with consequences, though. It is a widely accepted fact that she was sexually abused by her father, older brother, or both, which accounts for many of OKeeffes unorthodox behaviors throughout her life. For example, in boarding school she was known to kiss and touch her female classmates frequently. When enrolled in classes at the Art Students League in New York City, she ran, terrified, out of a figure drawing class where stood a male nude model. In all her years, Georgia surrounded herself with ineffectual males who were frequently homosexual. Perhaps she liked them because they posed no threat to her. On the other hand, she adored her female counterparts, having friendships with some and sexual relationships with others. She was even known to sit in a shed at the Stieglitz summer home in Lake George, NY, and paint naked for hours. Sometimes her young niece would make art at her side, and it is uncertain whether there were romantic relations between them. It was clear that Georgias unusual upbringing led to an unusual lifestyle, in any case. Ida seemed to want a somewhat normal life for her children, and insisted they be brought up Protestant, but the only private school in the area was Catholic. The OKeeffes could only afford to send one child at a time, and rotated public and private education yearly. Georgia had many memories of being taught by strict and severe nuns. She received art instruction beginning in her youth and thus began a legacy of creative genius. OKeeffes first interaction with the masters like Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, and others was by copying famous works. This practice was widely used and encouraged in art schools all over the world. Then she met a teacher who instructed her in the Dow Method. Instead of copying the works of others, [it] advocated that students produce original artwork from the beginning of their instruction.(Hogrefe 25). Alon Bement taught Georgia most of the concepts she would ever use or apply in her artwork. This was the summer of 1912 at the University of Virginia. After this, Georgia took up a teaching position in Amarillo, Texas, an area she found to be paradisiacal. She was an excellent teacher, well- liked, and always kept her students interested. The Texan landscape was like nothing she had ever seen before, with skies and plains stretching out further than the mind could fathom. The places she saw in the West inspired her, and she could never escape it for very long without feeling a strong sense of longing. It was from there that she drew most of the objects, images and memories which she put in her paintings. She lived out west for a significant portion of her life because things were simpler and most people did not ask too many questions. One of OKeeffes friends from art

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