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Georgia O’Keeffe Biographer Hunter Drohojowska-Philp
Gives U.Va. Art Museum Talk In Conjunction With The11th Annual Festival Of The Book

March 7, 2005 --

WHAT:         Book Festival Lecture by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, author of “Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe”
WHEN:         Friday, March 18, 10 a.m.
WHERE:       Campbell Hall, Room 158

In conjunction with the Festival of the Book, the University of Virginia Art Museum will present a lecture on Georgia O’Keeffe by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, author of the recent book “Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O’Keeffe,” on March 18 at 10 a.m. in Campbell Hall, Room 158. The talk is free and open to the public.


Drohojowska-Philp writes in the introduction to her book, “Georgia O'Keeffe may be the best known and least understood artist of the 20th century. She was a woman who lived the newspaper editor's adage that: If the myth is more stirring than the truth, print the myth. Nonetheless, I have attempted an honest portrayal of the woman behind the myth, exploring her remarkable strengths and talents as well as the demons and dark past that occasionally drove her to behave cruelly.”  

O'Keeffe, arguably the most successful American woman painter, made enormous contributions to modern art. In her seminal paintings of larger-than-life, abstract flowers, desert landscapes and stark white cow skulls, she applied the photographic techniques of cropping and composition usually relegated to the camera lens. But behind O'Keeffe's bold work and celebrity was a woman misunderstood by even her most ardent admirers.


O’Keeffe was discovered by Alfred Stieglitz, the well established art photographer and owner of the avant-garde New York gallery “291,” who was 23 years her senior. He became passionate about O’Keeffe’s work and organized her first exhibition in 1917. Their relationship was physically and intellectually passionate, and Stieglitz soon left his wife to marry O'Keeffe, who inspired him to take hundreds of unusual, sensitive portraits and nude photographs of her. But as O'Keeffe's career began to eclipse his, Stieglitz turned his attention to another impressionable young woman, Dorothy Norman.

In ‘Full Bloom,’ Drohojowska-Philp uncovers the woman behind the legend, carefully revealing the life of the artist through her work, her letters and dozens of interviews with those closest to O'Keeffe in her lifetime. As the first biographer to have use of the complete catalogue of O'Keeffe's work, and as one of the few biographers to have interviewed Dorothy Norman, Drohojowska-Philp sheds new light on O'Keeffe's motivations to leave New York for New Mexico, where she effectively redefined herself.

With her analysis of the defining moments of O'Keeffe's life, her critical eye and her fresh perspective, Drohojowska-Philp brings us much closer to understanding the genius of one of the greatest American painters. Rather than the bold, audacious female icon O'Keeffe has come to represent, through this biography she emerges as a woman whose disappointments drove her to self-discovery — personally and artistically — far from the brilliance of Manhattan. In the same way in which O'Keeffe's art demands, ‘Full Bloom’ asks that we look deeply, to examine the artist's desire to live and paint according to a willfully independent vision.

Drohojowska-Philp is a journalist and art critic specializing in art, design and architecture. “Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe,” her first book and the most definitive biography of the artist to date, was published by W.W. Norton in September 2004. Many of her articles on O'Keeffe originally were published in Art News magazine, where she is a West Coast contributor. Throughout the years, she also has written for numerous publications, including Art in America, Art and Auction, Art Net and contributed catalogue essays on the work of contemporary artists such as John Baldessari and Alexis Smith. In addition, she is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, Western Interiors, Design and Metropolitan Home.

From 1987 to 1996, Drohojowska-Philp was head of the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. She often lectures on modern and contemporary art, and in March 2003 the International Association of Art Critics honored her by asking her to deliver what was then called the Clement Greenberg Lecture. Her topic was Georgia O'Keeffe. Between 1980 and 1986, she was art critic for the L.A. Weekly, architecture and design editor of L.A. Style magazine, and a regular contributor to the L.A. Herald Examiner. She also hosted and co-wrote the KCET-TV series Arts Illustrated.

The 11th Annual Virginia Festival of the Book runs March 16 through 20. A schedule of each day’s events is available at: http://www.vabook.org.

For more information on Drohojowska-Philp’s talk, call the U.Va. Art Museum at (434) 924-3592.

Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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