Over the past year, O’Keeffe has taught me a lot. As someone with a background in Art History, its easy to start a job like this thinking you know, at the very least, the highlights of what makes O’Keeffe an important and respected artist. And while I did understand her place in the Art world, what I learned about O’Keeffe really speaks to who she was as a person.
First of all, she had an incredible drive to CREATE. Below you will see just a small sampling of the detailed brushes that she hand trimmed as well as a few of her “color cards” that showcase her true dedication to the Art of Color.
Secondly, she was not only inspired by the landscape, she was driven to understand it. To me, her practice of continuous dedication to a specific place such as the pedernal — not only tells me what a magical place it was for her, but that she never tired of it and always found something new to discover within its rolling hills.
And last, but certainly not least, O’Keeffe — even after her life, inspires us. I was able to observe our summer curatorial intern, Elizabeth Brindley, give a short gallery talk. Ms. Brindley is passionate about O’Keeffe, and not only did it show during her talk, but her engagement with the work was infectious. Those who were a part of this small talk were able to look at some of the paintings through a new lens, leaving their own ideas on the sidelines. And for a few moments, the viewers stopped trying to find the object within the painting, but talked about how it made them FEEL.
It has been a pleasure to learn more about O’Keeffe over the last year, but I am especially grateful to have met so many wonderful people that value her not only as an incredible artist, but an amazing woman.
Mackenzie Salisbury, Librarian