Georgia O'Keeffe - After Return from New Mexico
Alfred Stieglitz, American, 1864 - 1946
The trip that O'Keeffe made to Taos, New Mexico, in the summer of 1929 represented an enormous shift in her life and art, one that registered in Stieglitz's later photographs of her. According to biographer Sue Davidson Lowe, O'Keeffe had purchased the car seen in this portrait for use on her trip, and she obtained a driver's license upon her return to New York. Stieglitz, by contrast, did not know how to drive, and although O'Keeffe and others encouraged him to learn, he gave up after a year of fitful lessons. Far from denying his wife her image of herself, however, Stieglitz adapted that image to his own artistic premises in a remarkable sequence of photographs for which she posed in and around her vehicle. Here, O'Keeffe's slight smile and gently raised eyebrow, coupled with her position just higher than the level of the camera, suggest a self-possession not visible in earlier photographs. Perhaps this is the sign that a conscious distance has developed between the two artists, or perhaps it indicates their knowing collaboration.