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Crystal Bridges hosts art historian for lecture on Letters of O'Keeffe and Stieglitz

story and photos by Stephen Carter, special to The City Wire

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art hosted Sarah Greenough, senior curator of Photographs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. for a special lecture on legendary art couple, Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe.

The lecture, held Saturday (Jan. 11) at the museum, highlighted Greenough’s book, “My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz: Volume One, 1915-1933.” More than 100 museum members, art lovers and students attended the lecture and book signing that followed.

“In 1981 Georgia O'Keeffe asked me to select and edit letters that she and Alfred Stieglitz had exchanged over the course of their thirty-one-year relationship, with the purpose of publishing this important and revealing correspondence,” notes Greenough in the introduction of her book.

Between 1915 and 1946, the American artists, two of the most prominent in the 20th century, exchanged over 5,000 letters (more than 25,000 pages). Their regular correspondence, sometimes exceeding 30 pages in length, details their daily lives.

“Because they wrote so many letters, just reading my way through for the first time was immensely challenging,” said Greenough. “It has opened my eyes up to how important it is to really get into an artists biography and really understand their day to day lives.”

During her lecture, Greenough dispelled many popular myths surrounding the lives of both Stieglitz and O’Keeffe. Some of the falsely held beliefs, including the notion that O’Keeffe was bisexual, surprised guests.

“I had always thought that the myths about the relationship were true and she corrected a lot of those,” said Mike Pruneau, a guest in attendance.

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“It's really cool to come to the lecture after seeing the exhibition. It's a nice way for it to all fall together,” said Lia Uribe Southern, a lecture attendee and principal bassoonist of SoNA (Symphony Orchestra of Northwest Arkansas).

“Sarah’s lecture is one of the grand finale’s to culminate the last three months,” said Sarah Segerlin, the museum’s senior educator for Public Programs, and event organizer. “She’s the leading scholar on the relationship between Stieglitz and O’Keeffe and to have her here at the museum is significant.”

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