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Thread: Stieglitz/O'Keefe

  1. #1

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    Stieglitz/O'Keefe

    Just saw this http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jack-m...tm_hp_ref=arts and it reminded me of something. I can't recall where I read it, but I believe that the story that O'Keefe just "decided" to go back to New York isn't exactly the entire tale. It seems that Paul Strand was in love with her and went to Palo Duro Canyon in Texas where she was teaching but could not convince her to come back. She then caught the flu and almost died. And, (this is the part that doesn't make sense to me) she went back to NY where Stieglitz nursed her back to health. Maybe I dreamt this whole story up somehow? I thought I read it somewhere. Anyone know?

    Thanks,

    Will

  2. #2

    Re: Stieglitz/O'Keefe

    According to Benita Eisler (O'Keeffe and Stieglitz: An American Romance) the attraction between Georgia and Paul was mutual with numerous letters exchanged and many ups and downs in their long-distance relationship. Stieglitz had designs on her as well and sent Strand to Texas in May 1918 to ascertain her feelings about him and possibly convince her to return to New York. Apparently there was a lot going on in Georgia's life at the time including a relationship with another woman, illness, and general indecision about the direction she wanted to take in her life. Strand made her a proposal to let him take care of her. Eisler writes: "The offer was not so much naive as made in the certainty of rejection. In any case, Georgia had made up her mind. Her decision was indeed her own, independent of Stieglitz's letters 'discouraging the trip' (as Paul described them) and of Strand's own halfhearted suit."

    So, yes, she did decide to go to New York, but Strand and Stieglitz played their parts in guiding her to that decision. Hope this helps to answer your question, Will.

  3. #3

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    Re: Stieglitz/O'Keefe

    Yep - that's it. Thank you! I believe there was a huge influenza epidemic that year, so she might have been caught up in that. Idk why but the idea of Strand in West Texas is very amusing to me...

  4. #4

    Re: Stieglitz/O'Keefe

    Flu may have factored into it, but Georgia's mother had died of TB just two years earlier, and Alfred was concerned that the health issue may have been that. Her doctor in Canyon said, according to Eisler, ". . . she was as near to having TB as anyone he had seen who was not stricken with the disease."

  5. #5

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    Re: Stieglitz/O'Keefe

    I was going to research your question in that same book but was beat to it. Nevertheless I am very suspect of using that marriage as an example of romantic love, considering both of their affairs later and her avoidance of him as he came closer to death. Frankly, not my idea of a couple to emulate.
    Bill
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

  6. #6

    Re: Stieglitz/O'Keefe

    Bill, you are correct in your assessment of their later relationship. Early on, however, (granted, when Alfred was still married to Emmy) his and Georgia's relationship was like a Cialis commercial.

  7. #7
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Stieglitz/O'Keefe

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Stoyak View Post
    Early on, however, (granted, when Alfred was still married to Emmy) his and Georgia's relationship was like a Cialis commercial.
    YeeeHaaaaa!
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  8. #8

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    Re: Stieglitz/O'Keefe

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Stoyak View Post
    Early on, however, (granted, when Alfred was still married to Emmy) his and Georgia's relationship was like a Cialis commercial.
    A series of oddly placed bathtubs and a long list of medical warnings?

  9. #9

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    Re: Stieglitz/O'Keefe

    Quote Originally Posted by Moopheus View Post
    A series of oddly placed bathtubs and a long list of medical warnings?
    LOL, big time. Well done!
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"
    www.brucewbarlow.com

  10. #10

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    Re: Stieglitz/O'Keefe

    TB makes a lot more sense for the "Stieglitz nursing her back to health" thing for sure, though obviously she overcame it somehow if she did get it since she lived a long time. I was puzzled by her comments in an interview (later in her life) where she kept saying that she had intended to go back to NY all long but somehow never did, but a need to stay in NM because of a fear of TB somewhat explains that.

    I know Ansel Adams once pulled a stuck truck out of a gully, but I didn't know Stieglitz had used a team of horses to do the same. And all without leaving NY!

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