Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
American artist Georgia O'Keeffe blazes across the pages in Tripp's tour de force about this indomitable woman, whose life was both supported and stymied by the love of her life, photographer and art promoter Alfred Stieglitz. The author manages to get inside O'Keeffe's mind to such an extent that readers experience her transformation from a somewhat shy Texan art teacher who decided to throw away the rules to create her own art to the accomplished, strong-willed woman who held to her artistic vision; they will feel the passion that infused her work and love life that emboldened her canvases. Especially eye-opening is the way Stieglitz's nude photographs of O'Keeffe not only amazed and scandalized the art world, but shadowed the perception of her paintings and her identity, a consequence that haunted her most of her life until she made New Mexico her permanent home and reinvented herself as a solitary artist of the Western landscape. The relationship between Stieglitz and O'Keeffe, and her metamorphosis from lover to wife to jilted partner, is poignantly drawn. Tripp has hit her stride here, bringing to life one of the most remarkable artists of the 20th century with veracity, heart, and panache. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A much-celebratedand misunderstoodpainter peers across decades to ask: what would I have become without the lover who first promoted my work? "This is not a love story," she promises, before Tripp (Game of Secrets, 2011, etc.) re-creates O'Keeffe's unannounced visit to Alfred Stieglitz's New York gallery, just missing a show of abstract drawings she's been sending him from Texastruly, one of the sexiest "meets" of all time. In short order, he rehangs all of the work so he can photograph her with it and within a year, has thrown over his dismal-but-financially-advantageous 25 years of marriage to nest with his young sibyl and capture every inch of her with his camera. The nudes revive his career, but what's in it for O'Keeffe, who hasn't sold a painting? Tripp soon locates the wrinkle in this storybook relationship: "You will be a legend," Stieglitz tells O'Keeffe, if she sticks with her more representational (and sexually provocative) studies of oversize flowerswhich will more easily win over critics and attract customers who tend to shy away from purely abstract work. She takes the advice and is crowned best woman painter of the modernist generation. Over time, O'Keeffe gets pulled back to the Southwestern landscape, the one place she can free her mind of her lover's unquenchable thirst for young female adoration andmost bitter to herhis refusal to father a child (he has his reasons). Artful dialogue and snappy segues whiz a reader through 30 years of professional and domestic Sturm und Drang plus cameo appearances by members of the era's avant-garde art scene (including one or two who tempt O'Keeffe to turn tables on Stieglitz). In the end, it's not fidelity she craves but space to make art as she did when she was "nobody": "This is, after all, what I learned from [Stieglitz]: to keep what I want to myself. To reveal only what I want to be seen." A year before the centennial of that first one-woman show, Tripp's portrait makes a compelling primer to O'Keeffe's early careerand, yes, more than a love story. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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