Oregon ArtsWatch Audio: Karen Karbo and ‘How Georgia Became O’Keeffe’

Karen Karbo recently concluded a set of three interpretations of famous 20th century American women — Coco Chanel, Kate Hepburn and now Georgia O’Keeffe. They all lived long lives. They were independent of spirit and just about every other possible way. And they all happened to be very successful.

O’Keeffe’s artistic life started in early modernist New York City, under the great impresario and photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and she ended famously in New Mexico, gradually becoming a sort of cult figure. Karbo focuses on the earlier years, when O’Keeffe struggled desperately to figure out her way as an artist, and in that struggle for identity, Karbo manages to find some lessons for herself and the rest of us. And that makes for a very entertaining book.

Karbo chatted with me one day earlier this month. I recorded the interview in her house, with dogs underfoot, and what started out to be a quick little talk, expanded into something a little larger. Hope you enjoy it!

OAW Audio Karen Karbo by Oregon Arts Watch

Here are some photos that represent the ones we were looking at during the interview (though not the exact ones!).

Stieglitz took this photograph of O'Keeffe in 1918 (a year later than the one Karbo discussed).

This Stieglitz photo from 1929 is from the same session as the one we discussed.

Georgia O'Keefe's "Blue Line," Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Georgia O'Keeffe's "Two Calla Lilies on Pink," Philadelphia Museum of Art

2 Responses.

  1. Lacy Turner says:

    Terrific interview… loved the tone, the talk back and forth. Would have been even more terrific with a little editing. Love the book!

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