Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life
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Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  497 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Recounts not only the story of O'Keeffe's artistic achievements but also her feisty personality and the controversial events of her life. "A profoundly human treatment of O'Keeffe and all the people who figured prominently in her life."-- "Los Angeles Times"
Paperback, 420 pages
Published January 28th 1991 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published October 1st 1989)
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Georgia O'Keeffe by Roxana RobinsonLetters from Hawaii by Mark TwainHawaii by James A. MichenerAbe Lincoln in Illinois by Robert E. SherwoodIndiana by George Sand
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Ithinkican2 Scott
This is a very important book to me. In 1995 I was going through a difficult time in my personal life and found that I was wallowing in self-consciousness and self-pity. I happened upon this biography during that time and found in Roxanna Robinson's depiction of Georgia O'Keefe a new definition of a strong woman who knew from an early age who she was and lived up to her own personal ideals - even if she acted in a flawed way.

She was attracted to Alfred Stieglitz for his vision, his love of art...more
Sep 20, 2009 Suzanne rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: O'Keefe lovers
This is an exhaustive work, superbly researched and well-cited. It is quite lengthy and "dry" in places so it took some time to complete.
O'Keefe was one of the first "modern" female artists, yet remained attached to her lover and husband, the great photographer Alfred Stieglitz, despite his emotional cruelty and neglect. Her love for him never wavered, but his forceful and demanding personality smothered her spirit, a spirit that fed her art. His serial womanizing made living with him impossi...more
When I was young, Georgia O'Keeffe was still alive. In the 1960s and 70s she had became an icon of feminine force and power. Not feminism, she seemed above easy categories. She was primal and remote, almost an archetype of female strength and creativity, with her face graven like the hills of her beloved Southwest, yet her collaboration with Alfred Stieglitz was perhaps the great (requited) love story in art history. Many women looked to her for a role model as a woman and artist. This biography...more
I read this book in preparation for a visit to Santa Fe and New Mexico- Georgia O'Keeffe heartland. Subsequently I travelled to New York and the book gave me a new understanding of O'Keeffe's nature, why she painted what she did when she did and her need to breathe in the open skies of New Mexico. Ms Robinson carefully illustrates how O'Keeffe's background and upbringing nourished her independent spirit and led to her individualistic artistic development which was nourished and nurtured by Steig...more
Barbara Rice
Mmmm, well, I dunno. Much of the information here has been repeated in other books. The only thing that sets this book apart from the others about O'Keefe are the constant attempts to prove that she had affairs with men and women. This seemed superfluous and not especially well thought-out. I suppose the author thought this was important to prove one way or the other. It didn't add much, really.
This is a generous two stars for me because it was quite a slog to get through this poorly written biography of a difficult subject. I felt too much attention was given to the MEN in O'Keeffe's life and the art movements on the periphery of her work. The author uses previously published materials (principally O'Keeffe's letters) and ends up drawing questionable conclusions. The strident references to feminist theory and instistence that the flower paintings were NOT SEXUAL is also annoying. Fina...more
Louise Chambers
Sensual imagery. Detailed life story. Robinson allows us to truly understand O'Keefe's need for solitude, and her fierce relationship to the elemental forces of the Southwestern landscape.
K Kriesel
A Midwestern artist myself, I've been drawn to the American SouthWest for years and am only now able to move there. It's a difficult decision, leaving my loved ones and known life here, despite my desire to reside in the mountainous desert. Of course, living in both Chicago and Wisconsin, I'm familiar with O'Keeffe's similar life path. I investigated exhibits here about how her migration affected her life, how she decided upon it, etc. but I couldn't find her words about her life.
Robinson's bio...more
Sally Wessely
Georgia O'Keeffe has always fascinated me. After visiting the Georgia O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe for the second time, I decided that it was time I learned more about this woman. While in the museum bookstore, I asked for assistance in selecting the best book to read. This was the book that was recommended.

The book is not an easy read. I was warned that it was full of detail. In spite of the rather scholarly, well researched aspects of this book, I am glad I read it. I learned much about her li...more
I have spent more than a few lazy summer afternoons sitting on the mesas at Ghost Ranch gazing at Pedernal and soaking in the history of the place, so I am delighted to report that this book fulfilled my every desire of getting to know Georgia O'Keefe better. She is a complex character, and a remarkable woman--an artist who could have easily been overshadowed by Stieglitz, she conquered the art world.

Yes, her work has become exposed to the point of being trite, but her artistic accomplishments...more
Amy Beth
In high school a friend bought this book for me at a used book sale. It's a really great biography, and it made a large impression on me as a teenager wanting to be an artist. I was especially inspired by the artist's struggle to find a place for herself in art at a time when the only thing it was thought a female artist could be is a teacher.
Georgia O'Keefe is one of those artists that you are not supposed to like, but I don't care, I love her art. It is an incredible artist who can make flo...more
I wasn't sure why I took a month of my summer reading time on another book about Georgia O'Keeffe.I got it on my summer pilgrimage to Powell's Books and at almost 600 pages, this book was a little too long for me. I did enjoy reading about "Queen Georgia" as her siblings called her. Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin, I loved that the most important thing to her was the importance of "work", and not just the work of painting. That she ended up her life on a ranch in New Mexico growing flowers and...more
terrifying. TERRIFYING!
Interesting info but not a great read.
One of the most well researched books on the life of Georgia O'Keeffe. It was instructive as a text on the people she knew, her interactions with them as well as a well written general biography. The author dealt with conflicts frankly and laid out her cases succinctly. She leaves the reader with the idea that O'Keeffe was a loner who proved that women could be successful in the 20th century, especially as an artist. I think that I'll read another book to get another perspective, though.
An interesting and thorough read.
Sometimes I wished that the author would be more objective about Georgia's behaviour, she appeared so enamoured of her (understandable seeing as she undertook to write a massive biography of her) that sometimes it felt like you weren't getting the full story.
Apart from that small detail, this book gave a real insight into the art scene surrounding Georgia's work, especially the early years of her marriage to Alfred Steiglitz.
Connie Walsh

I discovered Roxana Robinson through her introduction to an Edith Wharton Classic (who I also recommend) and her writing in top rate. Robinson presents O'Keefe's letters, diaries and the personal anecdotes of her friends and family. A sympathetic portrait of a complex woman emerges: the changing roles of women to break through the strictures of stereotypes, her intense struggles to find her artistic identity and of course, her relationship with Alfred Stieglitz.
A great look into the life of such a hardworking American artist. At times it got a bit bogged down by the names of other people or artists I didn't know or care to look into. However, I felt that at the end I understood O'Keefe much better, not as a legend, but as a human artist.
I really like it. It's quite long. I took a 2 month break to read a couple other books and was able to jump back in. The details of her personal life and art are presented so well that even someone with bad reading comprehension can remember it. I do wish there were more visuals in the photo section b/c what is there is not sufficient for the length of the book.
Looking forward to reading this biography written by a wonderful writer about a woman I find intriguing, I couldn't have been more disappointed. It reads like a term paper - fatally boring - without a breath of life. After the first 50 or 60 pages I skimmed through to the end, searching for Robinson's mastery, but came away with a lump of pulp.
Sep 28, 2009 AB rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to AB by: Leigh Stein
I could not have loved O'Keeffe any more than I did, reading this. But Robinson's writing was a little problematic for me and irritated me enough at times to interfere with my enjoyment of the book, which is the reason -- the only reason! -- it gets 4 stars.

Phew. Also: ow. Those last few pages were tough.
I found this book long,drawn-out, tedious. While it was interesting & a lot of research went into it, at 600 pages, it's hard to get through ( I did not!) A museum where I volunteet is having exhibition of her work; hence the book. I'm going to switch over to another about her instead.
Wonderful and comprehensive biography! VERY detailed, and it does bog down at times but well worth the read. I found the end most poignant. I wish there was a color insert of her work-so much of it was described in the book- you almost had to have a computer handy to look it all up.
Helena Guiles
Like some of the other reviewers, this book had an enormous impact on me, both as an artist and as a young woman finding myself and my way in life. Partly for that reason, and partly due to its quality, its 600+ pages were an enthralling and effortless read for me.
Exhaustively researched biography of Georgia O'Keeffe. It is not a sentimental book, which based upon the book's description of Georgia, is the way she would have wanted it. It was lengthy, but well-researched. I would recommend it.
May 17, 2009 Yvonne marked it as to-read
I've read bits of it, but haven't had the time to devote to it, yet. What I have read, has been as tender, gentle and loving toward the artist as she was to her landscapes. Saving it for this summer, when I can delve deep, and savor.
Painstakingly researched in regards to both her personal life and her artistic development. I found Georgia very relatable in her unwillingness to give up her spirit for the sake of conventional wisdom.
Will Adams
Im currently reading this book its great.I really like the art work she designed and the effort she put into every artwork. She was an nice an talented person that lived in the desert and loved being outside.
I was excited to read this book, as I love Georgia O'Keeffe's work. But it ended up a little dull, and I ran out of time before the book was due back at the library. Decided to not finish it.
Again, I'm a biography lover. She's a fascinating creature and out of all the books on O'Keeffe I was told this is the best one yet and it certainly lived up to the praise.
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Born in Pine Mountain, Kentucky, Roxana Robinson grew up in New Hope, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Buckingham Friends School, in Lahaska, and from The Shipley School, in Bryn Mawr. She attended Bennington College and studied with Bernard Malamud and Howard Nemerov. She received a B.A. degree in English Literature from the University of Michigan.
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