Based off actual letters between Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Steiglitz, Georgia tells about the life and artistic pursuits of painter Georgia O'KeeffeBased off actual letters between Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Steiglitz, Georgia tells about the life and artistic pursuits of painter Georgia O'Keeffe and her breakthrough into the boys-only club of the art world in the 1920s-50s. The book goes into great detail about Georgia and her first lover then husband, photographer and art gallery owner Alfred Steiglitz, who really helped launch her art career. Will she be able to forge her own path in a world where everyone is trying to control her and her art? 4 stars.
I have been a bit obsessed with Georgia O'Keeffe ever since I did some research on her for an art program I was doing at work. So this book seemed the next logical step in getting to know more about her before committing to reading an in-depth biography. Overall, I enjoyed the book and Georgia's insights on art and love. It was interesting to know the background of why and how she came to paint the things she did paint, especially as painting the enlarged flowers (the thing that made her the most famous) was kind of a casual idea. I thought it was a bit weird, especially given what I have read about her relationships with men outside of her marriage, that the author tried to paint Steiglitz as the womanizer and didn't say much of anything about her dalliances. My biggest complaint about the book was that the ending really dragged.
I liked how the author added excerpts from real letters between O'Keeffe and Steiglitz to add to the story. You really got an insight into how Georgia felt about being an artist and her relationship with Steiglitz. I'm not 100% sure (unless it specifically says so) which is from a letter and what is the author's original work, but the book does have some great quotes. In the beginning of the book, Steiglitz sends her some photos he has taken of her during the affair before their marriage, and she sees herself through his eyes, she has "that quizzical, almost feral expression in her eyes--a restless ambition fused with desire." Steiglitz says this about art the first time she meets him when she was an art student in New York and it really stuck with her: "Art is life. Not reiterative. Not imitative, ever. It's always new. Otherwise, it is not Art." Or later when Georgia is frustrated with Steiglitz for how the critics view her and her work, and she tells him:
"I'm an artist, Stieglitz. All this nonsense about the eternal feminine and essential woman and cleaving and unbosoming. This both they smear on my work. It rips away the value of what I've tried to do. You tell me not to let talk like this interfere with my work. Well, it does interfere. It will. How can it not? You have to set them straight."
I think that's how most professional women feel about their work. We don't want to be viewed as the feminine version, but as our own version. It is fascinating to see how she viewed herself as an artist because she was so revolutionary. She was an artist at a time where there were hardly any other female artists, and became hugely famous, even after changing her style so much. I also liked how the author described Georgia's decision to move to New Mexico, that it was "curious, how something as inarguable and simple as wide-open space can rearrange me back into myself." That's kind of how I feel about living in the Southwest. Although I miss seasons and trees, there is something that really draws you in about the barren openness and rugged beauty of the Southwest. ...more
I'm so glad to have read this one. It had been on my to-read list for awhile, because I have a bit of an obsession with Day of the Day stuff, and I reI'm so glad to have read this one. It had been on my to-read list for awhile, because I have a bit of an obsession with Day of the Day stuff, and I recognized some of the calveras on the front of the book. I had no idea who Jose Guadalupe Posada was but enjoyed reading about the different kinds of printmaking that he did and how he became famous for political cartoons and the calaveras. I highly recommend it not only because it accurately describes the different art forms but also because it is a really interesting biography of an amazing artist. The back of the book features an author's note, bibliography, glossary (very important for me to not be butchering the Spanish terminology) and an index. Recommended for ages 8-12, 5 stars. ...more
The book is about Lizzie Siddal, a muse and model for several members of the PRB or Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in England, in the middle of the nineteThe book is about Lizzie Siddal, a muse and model for several members of the PRB or Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in England, in the middle of the nineteenth century. She starts out as a hat-maker’s assistant and shop girl, supporting her family who used to upper middle class but have since fallen on hard times. It is there that she is first discovered by a PRB member named William Deverell, who uses her as his model for Viola (dressed as a red-haired pageboy in his Twelfth Night painting). He falls in love with her only to have his friend Dante Gabriel Rossetti come over to see his fabulous new model, and become smitten with her himself. The difference is that Rossetti hold her up as an ideal, his Beatrice, and does not really plan on marrying her. She, of course being a young woman in the nineteenth century, is well aware of women who become models and how society perceives them and their reputation, and does not paint a pretty picture. The title alludes to one of the most famous paintings she was part of, namely Ophelia by John Everett Millias. It is with this painting that she becomes well-known, and is able to secure a patron in art critic John Ruskin, who also helps to publicize her own artwork. Her tempestuous relationship with Rossetti will eventually lead to her downfall though. 4 stars.
The artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (which I have also posted about on my previous blog here) are some of my favorites and have been since I was about sixteen and first saw an exhibition of their work. I love the style and subject matter of their art. I actually have a bit of an obsession over Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s work in particular, and his relationship with Lizzie Siddal. So naturally, when I discovered this book on Netgalley, I had to get a copy. I felt sorry for Lizzie, who was stuck in a bit of a sticky situation. Honor was such a bit part of Victorian life and while men could be total whores and get away with it (got to love those double standards), but women who got the slightest whiff of impropriety were deemed “loose women” and shunned (regardless if they actually did anything or not). Lizzie had a very tempetuous relationship with DG Rossetti, who had a very roving eye for all “stunners” as he called them, and probably slept with most of his models. I do kind of wonder what would have happened if she and William Deverell had been allowed to marry. She would’ve had a proper marriage, but it would’ve been really short because of his bad health and she probably would’ve have become as famous as she later did because of her relationship with Rossetti and her association with Ruskin. I would’ve liked to see color plates of the paintings named in the book or links to the paintings on the internet because it is sometimes hard to visualize the paintings if you haven’t seen them before. I will say that the reader really feels like they are part of the world of the 19th century with the sights, sounds and descriptions of the artwork.
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from Kensington Books on Netgalley in exchange for my honest review....more
Ok, so I'm a late Georgia O'Keeffe convert. I knew about her art of course, but had never really studied it until I decided to do a presentation on heOk, so I'm a late Georgia O'Keeffe convert. I knew about her art of course, but had never really studied it until I decided to do a presentation on her for Kids Cafe. I found her art and life fascinating once I started researching her, so I decided I wanted more information and got this book for that purpose. I liked that she decided early to become an artist, but changed her mind based on personal illnesses, but then decided she wanted to do it full-time. And this was a time when very few women had a career, and even fewer were unmarried. Though she did eventually marry Alfred Stieglitz and he helped publicize her name, I like that she didn't let him hold her back and started painting more and more original works like her famous flower painting, and the abstracted desert landscapes with animal skulls. I no longer believe her works are hyper-sexualized like some people believe because they look like women's genitalia, but yes they were rather sensual. For a woman who was competing with dozens, if not hundreds of men that were artists during the same time period, she did really well for herself and was famous during her own lifetime. I really enjoyed this book and would love to add it to my personal collection. Highly recommended for ages 9-12, 5 stars. ...more
I've been trying to find more wordless picture books for my son, so I leaped at getting this one. The problem is , I just didn't connect to it. It isI've been trying to find more wordless picture books for my son, so I leaped at getting this one. The problem is , I just didn't connect to it. It is about a conductor who climbs up a tree in a forest and makes all the leaves turn into birds and fly off the trees. This goes on for many many pages until all the leaves are gone. Then he climbs down and buries his baton in the ground, where it sprouts and turns into a tree. Recommended for ages 3-6, 2 stars. ...more
I had seen this book on the Guardian's children books readers had read for April or May 2015, and hoped that we had a copy at our library. We did, soI had seen this book on the Guardian's children books readers had read for April or May 2015, and hoped that we had a copy at our library. We did, so I grabbed it for me to read to my son. I love Shaun Tan's work usually, but this one just didn't grab me the way he others have in the past. The book gave rules that two boys learned during one summer, and shows an event and the the effect of that event. For example, they boys go to catch some shooting stars and one of the boys drops his jar, and the text says "Never drop your jar". The pictures got darker the further the story went. I think my son enjoyed it more than me. Recommended for ages 5-8, 3 stars...more