How Georgia Became O'Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living

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Skirt!, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 231 pages
2 Reviews

A fresh, revealing look at the artist who continues to inspire new generations of women


Most people associate Georgia O’Keeffe with New Mexico, painted cow skulls, and her “vagina” flower paintings. She was revered for so long—born in 1887, died at age ninety-eight in 1986—that we forget how young, restless, passionate, searching, striking, even fearful she once was—a dazzling, mysterious female force in bohemian New York City during its heyday.


In this monumental book, Karen Karbo cracks open the O’Keeffe icon in her characteristic style, making one of the greatest women painters in American history vital and relevant for yet another generation. She chronicles O’Keeffe’s early life, her desire to be an artist, and the key moment when art became her form of self-expression. She also explores O’Keeffe’s passionate love affair with master photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who took a series of 500 black-and-white photographs of O’Keeffe during the early years of their marriage.


According to O’Keeffe:Lessons on the Art of Livingdelves into the long, extraordinary life of the renowned American painter, exploring a range of universal themes—from how to discover and nurture your individuality to what it means to be in a committed relationship while maintaining your independence, from finding your own style to developing the ability to take risks. Each chapter is built around an aspect of living that concerns women today of all ages: how to find your own path; work with passion and conviction; express yourself; be in a relationship without sacrificing your sense of self; and do it all with an effortless, unique style.


As with Karbo’s previous books,According to O’Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Livingis not a tradition biography, but rather a compelling, contemporary reassessment of the life of O’Keeffe with an eye towards understanding what we can learn from her way of being in the world. 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - debnance - LibraryThing

Now I see why others have raved so much about this story. It’s the life of artist Georgia O’Keeffe, but you won’t find this story in the encyclopedia. It’s a tale beautifully, cleverly, wisely told ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - CarolynSchroeder - LibraryThing

This was an absolutely bizarre (and not in a good way) book about one of the most fascinating women in American history. However, half the book was about the author herself, who is myopically self ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Karen Karbo is a novelist, journalist, and witty, no-nonsense social commentator, and is the author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel and How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great, a biography-cum-guidebook the Philadelphia Inquirer called "an exuberant celebration of a great original." Karbo is also the author of Minerva Clark Gives Up the Ghost, the third installment in a trilogy about a seventh-grade girl detective who has a peculiar gift: self-confidence. Karbo's debut novel, Trespassers Welcome Here, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and all three of her novels have been named New York Times notable books. The Stuff of Life, her memoir about her father, was a People Magazine Critic's Pick and winner of the Oregon Book Award. Her work essays, reviews, and articles can be found in Outside, Elle, Vogue, Esquire, Redbook, More, Self, Entertainment Weekly, the New Republic, the Oregonian, and the New York Times. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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