Nancy Hopkins Reily

Georgia O'Keeffe, A Private Friendship, Part I

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The time is 1887. From any window in Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sun Prairie, Wisconsin birthplace home she only saw the Wisconsin prairie with its traces of roads veering around the flat marshlands and a vast sky that lifted her soul. At twelve years of age Georgia had a defining moment when she declared, “I want to be an artist.” Years later from her east-facing window in Canyon, Texas she observed the Texas Panhandle sky with its focus points on the plains and a great canyon of earth history colors streaking across the flat land. Georgia’s love of the vast, colorful prairie, plains and sky again gave definition to her life when she discovered Ghost Ranch north of Abiquiu, New Mexico. She fell prey to its charms which were not long removed from the echoes of the “Wild West.” These views of prairie, plains and sky became Georgia’s muses as she embarked on her step-by-step path with her role models—Alon Bement, Arthur Jerome Dow and Wassily Kandinsky. In this two-part biography of which this is Part I covering the period 1887–1945, Nancy Hopkins Reily “walks the Sun Prairie Land,” as if in Georgia’s day as a prologue to her family’s friendship with Georgia in the 1940s and 1950s. Reily chronicles Georgia’s defining days within the arenas of landscape, culture, people and the history surrounding each, a discourse level that Georgia would easily recognize.
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524 printed pages
Original publication
2017

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