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Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe Paperback – October 1, 1997


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Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe + Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life + Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Houses: Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Rev Upd Su edition (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671016660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671016661
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Joyce Carol Oates Fascinating...filled with riches...what a personality emerges from these pages!

Chicago Tribune Readers will welcome what Lisle has found. The woman who emerges has extraordinary personal stature, artistic gifts, commitment to her vision.

San Francisco Chronicle An excellent portrait of a nearly legendary figure.

Patricia Bosworth Portrait of an Artist moved me deeply -- I can't remember when a book involved me so totally.

Christian Science Monitor This O'Keeffe will shock as much as amuse, chill as much as inspire.

Eleanor Munro author of Originals: American Woman Artists Laurie Lisle has given us a mortal Georgia O'Keeffe, whose human hunger and frailties, gifts and strengths enabled her to survive -- triumphantly -- a conflicted life.

About the Author

In addition to Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe, Laurie Lisle is the author of two books: Without Child: Challenging the Stigma of Childlessness and Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life. She lectures widely on O'Keeffe and writes essays, articles and book reviews for various publications. Lisle lives with her husband in northwestern Connecticut and Westchester County, New York.

More About the Author

Laurie Lisle was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, where she returned after college to work for the local newspaper. She moved to New York City in the late 1960s and went to work for Newsweek magazine.

In the late 1970s she began writing her first book, the best-selling Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe, which was published in 1980. Her second biography is titled Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life.

She then began to write more personally, publishing Without Child: Challenging the Stigma of Childlessness and then Four Tenths of an Acre: Reflections on a Gardening Life. Her fifth book was a history of her high school, Westover: Giving Girls a Place of Their Own. The author is now working on a memoir.

She lives in Litchfield County, Connecticut and in Westchester County, New York. She is married to artist Robert Kipniss.

Please see www.laurielisle.com for more information

Customer Reviews

I would highly recommend this book to all, especially women!
Ruth Ann Atkinson
I have several biographies of Georgia O'Keeffe and always considered this one the best.
Lyrical
Most of the time, while reading, I stayed far away from the computer.
Laura Cohen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Laura Cohen on August 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
When author Laurie Lisle advised the artist, Georgia O'Keeffe, that hers was a story Lisle "wanted to tell," O'Keeffe, as was her wont, elected not to participate but told Lisle, "you are welcome to what you find." ("Forward and Acknowledgments.") Lisle, equipped with a passion for her subject and steadfastness of purpose - qualities similar to those governing O'Keeffe's own work and life - pored through museum bulletins and exhibition catalogue notes, magazine and newspaper articles, memoirs about O'Keeffe's artistic peers (including her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz), and O'Keeffe's letters preserved in Yale's Beinecke Rare Book Library. She spoke with O'Keeffe's schoolmates, in-laws, and friends. And, of course, she viewed O'Keeffe's creations.

There is not one spot of color in this book except for the auburn and gold lettering on the jacket of my paperback. The sixteen pages of photographs in the book, only four of which show O'Keeffe posing with her art, are black-and-white. One imagines, had the artist participated in this project and accepted that a literary work, with an artist as its subject, could be as beautiful and fascinating as the flowers, skulls, rivers, and stones she captured in her own paintings, O'Keeffe would have appreciated the lack of color. For much of her life, O'Keeffe's signature garb was black with a touch of white, due to a belief that admirers ought to focus on the art, not the artist.

While reading this book, one obviously is tempted to take occasional breaks from Lisle's gorgeously plain, non-effusive prose to google O'Keeffe's paintings.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By ga ga for books on August 28, 2007
Format: Unbound
For so many years to me, Georgia O'Keeffe was just a well-known woman artist who painted flowers. Thanks to this book I came away feeling that I got to truly know and admire this artist and now I can look at her pictures differently with a deeper understanding and appreciation for them. Thanks to this book I think I have learned to look at the beauty in nature in a different way and feel that this book has taught me much about people and truly opened my eyes in many ways to the world around me and made me curious about different areas of our wonderful country. Very enlightening in many ways and definitely worth reading.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J Martin Jellinek on May 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Portrait of an Artist is just that - a portrait of a powerful, unique artist. Refreshingly, for those of us who have an interest in art and some knowledge but are not familiar with technicalities, the book is very direct and honest. One comes away with the feeling they have met and experienced a fascinating woman - one who is not always pleasant and kind, but one who is always open and honest. Her art is used as a lens into her deepest feelings, although the only representations of her art are in photographs where she is posing in front of one of her paintings. Her devotion to her art was inspiring, although it seemed to overwhelm everything and everyone that surrounded her. I walk away from this book very glad to have met and experienced Georgia O'Keeffe, but also glad to have experienced her from a distance and not had to endure her intensity personally. This is a great compliment for a fascinating book.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on September 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
There are parts of New Mexico that, if you know of the woman, just scream This is Georgia O'Keeffe Country. This honest and admiring biography lays out the story of this incredible woman who lived to age 99. That's a long, long, long life. Her life found its trajectory when, in 1916, a friend sent some of her drawings to renowned photographer Alfred Stieglitz. He proclaimed her to be "a woman on paper." Furious (as only O'Keeffe could be furious), she confronted him, became his lover, and eventually married him, initiating an emotional and artistic collaboration that endured until his death.
O'Keeffe became a feminist before the word was even invented. When she realized that it would be impossible to become her own person while working in his shadow, she established the pattern of spending 6 months with him in NY and 6 months on her own in New Mexico, a place she always referred to as her spiritual home. Stiegitz died in 1946, and O'Keeffe lived on for another incredible half a century.
If you have the opportunity to visit New Mexico, don't miss the O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe - and my all means visit her home in Abiqueque. To say it's Georgia O'Keeffe country is to put it far too mildly.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Having read Portrait of an Artist in college I learned to appreciate the talent, determination and self reliance that success requires. It should be required reading for every young woman
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Soule on July 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our reading group all picked a different biography and we discussed our choices at our last meeting. Portrait of An Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe was my pick. This was an interesting and easy read that often revealed O'Keeffe's multi- faceted personality and artistic nature and work. I found the black and white photos of O'Keeffe, many of which were taken by her mentor and husband Stieglitz, often as revealing as Laurie Lisle's words. The bio reveals the artist from birth in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, in 1887 to her death in Taos, New Mexico in 1986.

It's not a perfect portrait as the author seems to impose her own opinions/guesses on why the artist reacted or thought certain things. But it was a good overview of her career and life. O'Keeffe valued privacy and freedom in her life. She was an accepted and successful artist at a time when many felt only men could be accomplished artists. Lisle's biography hightlights the fact that O'Keeffe wasn't a perfect person but that what mattered to her most was her art. I wish some of O'Keeffe's paintings had been included in the bio since the artist herself said that her life wasn't the important thing. It was her art that mattered.
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