the game changers
The game changers
GEORGIA TOTTO O'KEEFFE
November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986
O'Keeffe has been called the
"Mother of American modernism".
O'Keeffe began art training at the
In 1908, unable to fund further education,
studied art in the summers between
1912 and 1914
and was introduced
to the principles and philosophies of
who created works of art based
upon personal style, design, and interpretation of subjects,
rather than trying to copy or represent them.
This caused a major change in the way she felt about and approached art, as seen in the beginning stages of her watercolors from her studies at the University of Virginia
and more dramatically in the charcoal drawings
that she produced in 1915 that led to total abstraction.
an art dealer and photographer,
held an exhibit of her works in 1917.
Over the next couple of years,
she taught and continued her studies at the
Georgia O'Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887,
In a farmhouse in the town of
Her parents, Francis Calyxtus O'Keeffe and Ida (Totto) O'Keeffe,
were dairy farmers.
Her father was of Irish descent.
O'Keeffe discovered that she would not be able to finance her studies.
Her father had gone bankrupt and her mother was seriously ill with tuberculosis.
She took a job in Chicago as a commercial artist
and worked there until 1910,
when she returned to Virginia to recuperate from the measles
and later moved with her family to
] She began teaching art in 1911.
One of her positions was at her former school,
Chatham Episcopal Institute, in Virginia.
She took a summer art class in 1912 at the
who was a Columbia University Teachers College faculty member.
Under Bement, she learned of the innovative ideas of Arthur Wesley Dow, Bement's colleague. Dow's approach was influenced by principles of design and composition in Japanese art.
She began to experiment with abstract compositions and develop a personal style that veered away from realism.
She took classes at the University of Virginia for two more summers.[
She also took a class in the spring of 1914 at Teachers College of Columbia University with Dow, who further influenced her thinking about the process of making art.
Her studies at the University of Virginia, based upon Dow's principles, were pivotal in O'Keeffe's development as an artist.
Through her exploration and growth as an artist, she helped to establish the American modernism movement.
She taught at Columbia College in
In early 1916, O'Keeffe was in New York at Teachers College, Columbia University.
O'Keeffe began to spend the summers painting in New Mexico in 1929.
1945, O'Keeffe bought a second house, an abandoned hacienda in Abiquiú, which she renovated into a home and studio.
Shortly after O'Keeffe arrived for the summer in New Mexico in 1946, Stieglitz suffered a stroke. She immediately flew to New York to be with him. He died on July 13, 1946. She buried his ashes at Lake George. She spent the next three years mostly in New York settling his estate, and then moved permanently to New Mexico in 1949, spending time at both Ghost Ranch and the Abiquiú house that she made into her studio.
O'Keeffe hired John Bruce "Juan" Hamilton as a live-in assistant and then a caretaker. Hamilton was a potter, recently divorced and broke.
This companion of her last years was 58 years her junior.
Hamilton taught O'Keeffe to work with clay, encouraged her to resume painting despite her deteriorating eyesight, and helped her write her autobiography.
He worked for her for 13 years.
O'Keeffe became increasingly frail in her late 90s.
She moved to Santa Fe in 1984, where she died on March 6, 1986,
at the age of 98.
Her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered, as she wished, on the land around Ghost Ranch.
Following O'Keeffe's death,
her family contested her will because codicils added to it in the 1980s had left most of her $65 million estate to Hamilton. The case was ultimately settled out of court in July 1987.[
The case became a famous precedent in estate planning
first of 5 children,
raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
father, Edward Sherwood Mead,
was a professor of finance at the
her mother, Emily (née Fogg)
was a sociologist who studied Italian immigrants.
Her sister Katharine (1906–1907) died at the age of nine months.
That was a traumatic event for Mead, who had named the girl, and thoughts of her lost sister permeated her daydreams for many years.
Her family moved frequently and so her early education was directed by her grandmother until, at age 11, she was enrolled by her family at Buckingham Friends School in Lahaska, Pennsylvania.
Her family owned the Longland farm from 1912 to 1926.
Born into a family of various religious outlooks,
she searched for a form of religion
that gave an expression of the faith
with which she had been formally acquainted,
Christianity. In doing so, she found the rituals of the United States Episcopal Church to fit the expression of religion she was seeking.
Mead set out in 1925 to do fieldwork in Samoa.
she joined the American Museum of Natural History, NYC, as assistant curator.
She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1929.
During World War II,
Mead was executive secretary of the National Research Council's Committee on Food Habits.
curator of ethnology
at the American Museum of Natural History
from 1946 to 1969.
elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
the United States National Academy of Sciences
and the American Philosophical Society
She taught at The New School and Columbia University,
where she was an adjunct professor from
1954 to 1978
and a professor of anthropology and
chair of the Division of Social Sciences at
Fordham University's Lincoln Center
1968 to 1970,
founding their anthropology department.
joined the faculty of the University of Rhode Island
as a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Anthropology.
Mead focused her research on problems of child rearing, personality, and culture.
She served as president of the
Society for Applied Anthropology in 1950
and of the American Anthropological Association in 1960.
In the 1960s, Mead served as the V P of the New York Academy of Sciences.
She held various positions in the
notably president in 1975 and chair of the executive committee of the board of directors in 1976.
She was a recognizable figure in academia and usually wore a distinctive cape and carried a walking stick.
and an editor of their proceedings.
Mead's address to the inaugural conference of the American Society for Cybernetics was instrumental in the development
two record albums published by Folkways Records.
The first, released in 1959, An Interview With Margaret Mead, explored the topics of morals and anthropology. In 1971, she was included in a compilation of talks by prominent women, But the Women Rose, Vol. 2:
1976, Mead was a key participant at UN Habitat I,
the first UN forum on human settlements.
Mead died of pancreatic cancer on November 15, 1978,
and is buried at Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery,
"Over the next five decades Mead would come back oftener to Peri than to any other field site of her career.’
Mead has been credited with persuading the American Jewish Committee to sponsor a project to study European Jewish villages, shtetls, in which a team of researchers would conduct mass interviews with Jewish immigrants living in New York City. The resulting book, widely cited for decades, allegedly created the Jewish mother stereotype, a mother intensely loving but controlling to the point of smothering and engendering guilt in her children through the suffering she professed to undertake for their sakes.
Mead worked for the RAND Corporation,
a US Air Force military-funded private research organization, from 1948 to 1950 to study Russian culture and attitudes toward authority.
Margaret Mead was both a student of civilization and an exemplar of it. To a public of millions, she brought the central insight of cultural anthropology: that varying cultural patterns express an underlying human unity.
She mastered her discipline, but she also transcended it. Intrepid, independent, plain spoken, fearless, she remains a model for the young and a teacher from whom all may learn.