GEORGIA O'KEEFFE | AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT, TITLED IN O'KEEFFE'S HAND "MY EYES AND PAINTING"
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT, TITLED IN O'KEEFFE'S HAND "MY EYES AND PAINTING"
15 pages on ruled yellow foolscap (13 1/8 x 8 5/8 in.). [Abiquiu, New Mexico (?), mid-1970's], titled in O'Keeffe's hand "My Eyes and Painting" on accompanying manila file folder. Several typed and one autograph transcription signed by Alison Owens.
Georgia O'Keeffe on her diminishing eyesight in old age: "My vision had always been very sharp — both near and far. When my eyesight was particularly good, I could read very fine print and count the trees on the mountains miles away. When my eyes began to not see sharply as they had for 80 years and the world began to turn grey, I was bothered and gradually stopped working. In time, I was surprised that this world could sometimes be beautiful in a new way, and began to think — how could I start again and begin to paint this new world. Juan helped me — he was sometimes very unpleasant by pushing — urging me to try."
The artist enumerates some the experiences that then encouraged her to keep painting. She visits Ansel Adams and his wife and goes for a drive with them near Carmel, California. Adams takes his guest to see "some … big trees standing big as a mountain can be high. I got out of the car to look up at the the trees and immediately knew I must do something about them." O'Keeffe experiences similar revelations in a studio with a skylight in Old Wick, New Jersey, looking at a palm tree in Antigua, and walking near the Washington Monument in after leaving the Freer Gallery.
Of the work produced in this late phase of her career, she writes: "These paintings are from my seeing differently than I saw before, You look up into the big trees …. You may not see what you might have seen two years ago — but memory is good, so with what you see and what you remember — a piece of charcoal and some paper, you find yourself drawing trees if the urge to do trees is there …. You have to think in shapes so that it is possible for you to express in paint the way you remember and think and see now."
By descent to the present owner
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