13 thoughts on “Garden myth-busting: O’Keefe hated flowers”

  1. O’keefe has been a favorite of mine throughout the years, but as I’ve learned more and more about her…not so sure I like her as a person! She should have stuck to bones and tried more landscapes if she hated flowers!

  2. One of my favorite art teachers always told me that these were not just flowers, they were far more intimately feminine than a few petals. I tend to agree with her more now.

  3. Inside every popular talented artist is an equally talented business person. Just ask Marylin Manson or Andy Warhol.

  4. Thanks, Melanie, for adding that quote…so I did not have to type it out.
    One can find all sorts of nonsense on the Internet. Read her letters, etc–from her own hand–and in context before you attribute quotations.

  5. I trust the Curmudgeon. He’s a pretty reliable source.

    But the two quotes aren’t mutally exclusive. I praise weeds and I hate weeds. I love my computer and I hate my computer. etc. etc. etc.

  6. You’re right Craig. However, placing that quote alone and labeling it “myth busting” is twisting the truth in very much the same way that supermarket tabloids do–and leaves a false impression and therefore is (in my book) a form of lying by omission for the sake of “grabbing attention”. And, for those who have not read much of O’Keefe’s own writing, this quote, out of context totally misrepresents her. It’s silly and insulting to the reader as well as O’Keefe.

    But, then…that’s what we as a people at large love isn’t it? Little snippets of info that provoke, surprise or titillate rather than inform, inspire or elucidate.

    I know she would laugh at all this–including my disgust at this type of over simplification of her….just as she did those who “read” so much human sex into her flowers. As she so wisely noted: all those observations say far more about the person observing than they do O’Keefe’s point of view or purpose.

  7. zephyr:

    I’ll defer to you. You know a lot more about O’Keefe than I’ll ever know.

    I find it hard to believe that anyone could paint flowers like that without having a passion for them. Maybe that passion took on a kind of love/hate thing at times. Maybe this quote came out at one valley in the cycle.

    Sorry to come across as tabloidy. For the record, I love her paintings. But maybe that says too much about me. ;-7

  8. Craig,
    I’ve also “lifted” quotes when it serves my purpose, I’m sure…but I try not to–unless it’s during an election where one candidate is so clearly not worthy ;^)

    I studied her works and words for a long time when I was young…before she became popular enough to have multiple calendars each year. It was her independence that drew me as much as her work. Her work and love of the desert also helped me to reclaim a bit of affection for the corner of the desert that was the land of my nativity. So I’m grateful to her for that as well.

  9. Another quotation from her
    “Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”

    Wasn’t she a humanist then?

  10. I have a Litho of Petunia hanging over an antique dresser at the end of my hall and I love it!!! Michael (2-4-11), I love your comment and agree with you! I love her work!

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