Project Description

Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe

The love story between photographer Alfred Stieglitz and painter Georgia O’Keeffe marked a significant time in the development of modern art. It was a love unique for its time, surpassing human limits of love and gender roles. In autumn of 1915, O’Keeffe sent a group of her charcoals to a friend in New York, who showed them to Alfred Stieglitz. Stieglitz was then a prominent figure in New York society, responsible for shaping both the look of American photography and the North American take on European modern art; he would later play a huge part in O’Keeffe’s early success. Stieglitz was quite impressed with the charcoals shown to him and it soon led to a prolific correspondence between them. Their letters were full of tenderness, deep infatuation and honesty. When Stieglitz and O’Keeffe met in 1916, he was 52 and famous — an internationally acclaimed photographer, with an avant-garde gallery in Manhattan. She, on the other hand, was 28 and unknown. He was instantly taken by the work and made plans to show it to the public. O’Keeffe soon moved to New York and became a muse Stieglitz had always wanted. The next 10 years were the most creative in his life. They married in 1924 – throughout their marriage, each groped for personal and professional fulfillment — and achieved so much. Their relationship was intense, full of love and affairs and eventually ended with O’Keeffe heartbroken. O’Keeffe, now 42, travelled to New Mexico and found the subjects and colors that would place her work in every major museum. She still wrote letters to Stieglitz full of adventures and sunshine. Back in New York, Stieglitz, now 65, fell apart. “I am broken,” he writes, desperate that he has lost her and will never get her back. Nevertheless, she was with him on his deathbed in 1946. She later scattered his ashes and donated his photographs to museums all over the world.