“Ida, Not Georgia”

ida o'keeffe painting

Ida Ten Eyck O’Keeffe’s “Star Gazing in Texas,” 1938. Oil on canvas, framed. Credit Dallas Museum of Art.

Roberta Smith writes of an exhibition at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts entitled “Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow.” I don’t warm immediately to the work of Ida Ten Eyck O’Keefe (1889-1961), but I’m glad it has survived against challenging odds, including unkind relatives and the nastiness of Alfred Stieglitz, husband of Ida’s older sister Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986).

This show and its catalog reflect the exceptional scholarship of Sue Canterbury, American art curator at the Dallas Museum. The story she tells is one of loss, subterfuge and bad luck. Around 1925, Stieglitz, whose advances Ida had rebuffed, thwarted her relationship with the critic Paul Rosenfeld (1890-1946) and would later discourage New York dealers from showing her work. In the early 1930s, Georgia demanded that Ida stop exhibiting, creating a rift that never healed. In addition, more than two decades after her death in 1961, a great deal of Ida’s work was stolen from her survivors.

ida o'keeffe painting2

Ida Ten Eyck O’Keeffe’s “Variation on a Lighthouse Theme V,” about 1931-32. Credit Jeri L. Wolfson Collection.

(Roberta Smith, “Looking Twice at Renoir and O’Keeffe (Ida, not Georgia),” NYTimes, 8-8-19)

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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