Georgia – Dawn Tripp

About the artist, Georgia O’Keefe.

“He had faith in me. He did not give me greatness, but his faith in my early work gave me the space to achieve it. He knew this then, and perhaps on some level he also knew that for me to fully become the legend he saw, I would have to leave him.” Page 30.

From a list of books, was on sale, I think, and worth it. A bit of historical fiction about the arts and the artist?

Historical fiction, written as romance, or perhaps, one of those 19th Century English period pieces, a mannerly romance, Victorian, even. Amusing notion given the frankly sexually sensual nature of the latter works.

Hardly pornographic, but some frankly sexual material that, ecstasy aside, echoes my feelings about the artist’s works, canon of images, as captured with her color and shadings.

“It occurs to me now that art is exactly this: making what’s unseen but all around us, visible. Having that sort of faith.” Page 118.

Where art is, from a fictionally imagined Georgia O’Keefe.


Unsure of the lineage of the book, found it on a list, and every time, most times, anyway, when I opened the title, I would hear a family refrain, “Georgia on my mind…” Different subjects.

“It sickens me.” Stieglitz shakes his head. “Just when Americans were starting to dip their milky white minds into the avant-garde, along comes this war to blow it all down.” Page 171.

The World War stopped the Americans from dipping their milky white minds into the avant-garde of the time.

“There was a teacher I had once, Arthur Wesley Dow, who talked about composition not as an arrangement of pretty things, but as space filled in a meaningful way.” Page 247.

Modernists. Abstracts. Writing about painting, love, art, and the painter, the great artist, Georgia O’Keefe.

I’d have to wonder about the source for the quotes, but as far as feeling real, the tale paints a literary picture of what must’ve been a hot and steamy relationship, one of the first couples of American abstract and/or modern art. I’m unsure of the correct titles, there. Think it’s “Modern,” but my art history is notoriously weak.

Read the book with frequent WikiPedia pauses, looking up a particular piece of art — specific paintings — or the more general timbre of the time, plus, other famous names mentioned, artists, and so forth.

“I think about New Mexico. Sometimes it’s all I think about—leaving here, going back. How long would I stay? Four weeks? Three months? Forever? I miss it. And I hold that sense of missing it close to me at night when I can’t sleep. I remember once, driving out in Taos, I hit a patch of loose gravel. I wasn’t expecting it.” Page 496.

The allure of New Mexico, that southwestern pilgrimage—

Makes for interesting read. Having spent portions of my childhood and even some of my picaresque adult life in the picturesque southwest of myth and lore? I understand the appeal. The sky, the hills, the magic of the land itself, the way the light in Northern New Mexico is so bright yet subdued.

It’s sad, at the end, failing light, but then, it does short shrift to the life in New Mexico, and as such it seems to be more of a romance between the two, and how that impacted her career.

For fans of her artwork, and how can anyone not fall in love with the art itself? For fans — like me — it’s an important novel. Romance, slightly sensual, covers a lifetime of love with all its struggles, and the artistic scene, as a backdrop.

Probably won’t play to a large crowd, one has to like her paintings, to start with.

One review used the word, “veracity;” and I would tend more towards verisimilitude — it feels real, whether it is — or isn’t. Fictional veracity?


(Georgia O’Keefe — modern painter.)


Georgia – Dawn Tripp

Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O’Keeffe

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