Thursday, September 1, 2011

Artist Georgia O'Keeffe at Wiawaka


In 1908, Mary Fuller bought several acres of land adjoining the Wiawaka property to the north. This parcel was the location of a two-story Adirondack-style building that Katrina Trask built circa 1905 and used to house visiting artists. Katrina named the property Amitola; the building is now known as Wakonda Lodge. The visiting artist residence is a precursor to Yaddo, the Trasks' artist retreat which remains in operation in nearby Saratoga Springs, New York.

Several famous people are reported to have spent time at Amitola, including the artist Georgia O'Keeffe. In 1998, when the National Register of Historic Places nomination was written, no proof of her visit to the site was known.

During preliminary research for the Wiawaka Project, documentation of Georgia O'Keeffe's stay at Wiawaka was found in an issue of American Art News dated June 13, 1908 (Vol. 6., No. 31). An image of the article is below, with the sections mentioning Georgia O'Keeffe highlighted (click on the image for a larger, readable version):

News about the Art Students' League, American Art News, June 13, 1908 (Vol. 6., No. 31)

In the spring of 1908, Georgia O'Keeffe, then 21 years old, won a general scholarship to the Art Students' League in New York City for her untitled oil painting of a dead rabbit with a copper pot. That summer, she was one of twenty Art Students' League students to spend a month at Wiawaka. That fall, she stopped painting, convinced that she could never compete artistically with others in the realistic style. Four years later, she began painting again after taking a class that introduced her to a more expressionist approach to painting, and she went on to create a spectacular body of work.(1)

Georgia O'Keeffe, Untitled (Dead Rabbit With Copper Pot), oil on canvas, 1908. Collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Control No. IAP 82380053. Photograph of the painting by Peter A. Juley and Son, Smithsonian American Art Museum. (2)

References:
(1) Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.
(2) Search Results: O'Keeffe Rabbit

2 comments:

CK said...

That's very cool. I am looking at one of her posters (in my office) right now.

MSpringate said...

I love her work! I think it's exciting that she spent time at Wiawaka and that it played a role in her development as an artist.