|Georgia O'Keeffe in Williamsburg: A Re-creation of the
Artist's First Public Exhibition in the South (catalogue cover).
|O'Keeffe photographed by Stieglitz,
|O'Keeffe as seen by Ansel Adams
about the time of her 1938
In 1938, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia awarded Miss O'Keeffe (Mrs. Stieglitz by then) her first honorary degree. It also was the first and only Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree ever awarded by the college in its 300-year history. In conjunction with this, she was represented by her first solo show in the South. The show was never reviewed, is mentioned only briefly in her biographies, contained only eight paintings, and in fact, lasted just six days. In retrospect, it seems to have been a mere punctuation mark in her long, illustrious career. Several years later, the College's Muscarelle Museum of Art opened an exhibit striving to re-create this "lost show" with the same eight paintings, even the same wall colours selected by O’Keeffe and her promoter-husband more than sixty years before as representative of her work during the previous ten years.
|Hollyhock Pink with the Pedernal, New Mexico,
1937, Georgia O'Keeffe, was one of the nine
paintings exhibited in the Williamsburg show.
Setting up the show was no easy task. Just coming up with a list of paintings from the original show was difficult. To begin with, they had only a clipping of Miss O'Keeffe in her cap and gown from the New York Times. Only after a great deal of in-depth research into letters and other memorabilia from the period were museum officials able to pull together a list of four flower paintings, a view of New York City, two Southwest landscapes, and one of her trademark "bone" paintings. Many of the current owners of these works were unaware of their significance in this light. A ninth painting was also added to the show, a work entitled White Flower (1932, top, used for catalogue cover) by O'Keeffe, which had been donated by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller to the museum back in 1938 to commemorate the awarding of the honorary degree.
|Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe,