The Love Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe & Alfred Stieglitz: An Artistic Experience by Grace Howl
“PASSIONATE AND POETIC, vivid and compelling, the letters between Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz are a profoundly moving account of the lives of two of this country’s most celebrated artists and an exceptionally important source of information on twentieth-century American art and culture. Excerpt: My Faraway One, edited by Sarah Greenough
Grace Howl’s Together & Apart, inspired by the letters written between Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz is an imaginative environment that enables viewers to literally walk into the letters, read them, and experience the thoughts and feelings of two lovers, two artists, intimately and personally. The installation depicts their respective bedrooms where they spent much of their time reading and writing the shared letters: Stieglitz’s side, representing Oaklawn, his family’s estate in Lake George, New York, and O’Keeffe’s side, her room in Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. A section of the area is devoted to "291," and “An American Place,” two of the galleries owned by Stieglitz that became the first venues in America to show the works of artists such as Picasso, Rodin, Matisse, O’Keeffe and many more.
O'Keeffe, a painter recognized as the "Mother of American modernism" and Stieglitz, a photographer, publisher and gallerist who made unparalleled contributions to the introduction of modern art in America and the recognition of photography as an accepted art form. They began a 30-year dialog of letters starting in 1915 and proceeding until Stieglitz's death in 1946. During that time, they spent many years entranced and passionately in love — O'Keeffe becoming the muse that Stieglitz had always desired, and Stieglitz becoming O’Keeffe’s guide, mentor, and main contributor to her popularity and success — but the complexity of their relationship became exasperated, eventually driving O'Keeffe to became restless and she soon developed a sense of independence and adventure, traveling throughout the United States, Europe, and finally settled down in New Mexico where she sought solace in her art and time alone. Over the many years of their marriage, living mostly apart, they devotedly wrote one another — sometimes two and three times a day and letters as long as 40 pages. The incredible record of correspondence between O’Keeffe & Stieglitz tracks their relationship from acquaintances to admirers to lovers to man and wife, through perplexity and trials, and provides glimpses of the culture and times of twentieth-century artists. As no viewing of their works of art can do, experiencing Howl’s interpretive masterpiece brings these two pioneers of modern American art to life.