Georgia O'Keeffe

The Great American Everything

"At the time, the men were all talking about the great American novel, the great American play, the great American, oh, it was the great American everything. And I thought they didn’t know anything about America, a lot of them hadn’t been across the Hudson. So I thought, I’ll make my picture a red white and blue. I’ll make it an American painting...The bones do not symbolize death to me. They are shapes that I enjoy. It never occurs to me that they’re about death. They are very lively."

~ Georgia O'Keeffe, from "American Icons: Georgia O'Keeffe's Skull Paintings," Studio 360, November 12, 2010

Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue (1931)

The Best Thing I Can Do for You

Lake George 1929 -nd After two months in Taos, Georgia O'Keeffe explains her time away in a letter to Alfred Stieglitz dated July 9, 1929:


There is much life in me — when it was always checked in moving toward you — I realized it would die if it could not move toward something ... I chose coming away because here at least I feel good — and it makes me feel I am growing very tall and straight inside — and very still — Maybe you will not love me for it — but for me it seems to be the best thing I can do for you — I hope this letter carries no hurt to you — It is the last thing I want to do in the world.

Today it rains —

From My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz edited by Sarah Greenough

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