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Georgia O’Keeffe: Deconstructing a Myth; Offering a New Perspective

October 17, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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This semester, our Muscarelle Explorations lecture series will dive into the people, the art and the stories that have defined the Muscarelle over the past 40 years.

In the 1930s, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller donated what is possibly the most famous work in the Museum’s collection, White Flower, by Georgia O’Keeffe. She hoped her gift would be seen “not only as an aesthetic gesture but also as an inspiration to the young women who are students at William & Mary.” Barbara Buhler Lynes, the preeminent scholar on O’Keeffe, will visit campus to discuss the life and work of the artist.

Since 1946, the literature on O’Keeffe has consistently referred to the words her husband, dealer, and internationally known photographer, Alfred Stieglitz, supposedly uttered when first viewing her highly innovative abstract work in 1915: “Finally, a Woman on Paper.” Dr. Lynes’s presentation will demonstrate the origin of this myth, when Stieglitz spoke these words, as well as how and why they came to prevail in the literature. She will also discuss the sculptural qualities of O’Keeffe’s paintings that offer a previously unknown perspective on her art and amplify her significance as one of America’s most important modernist artists.

This talk will take place in Tucker Theatre on the first floor of Tucker Hall. Registrants will receive a parking pass via email; Street parking is also available on Richmond Road.

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE | American, 1887 – 1986 | White Flower, 1932 | Oil on panel | © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, ARS | Gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. | 1934.007

Barbara Buhler Lynes is an art historian, curator, professor, and preeminent scholar on the art and life of Georgia O’Keeffe. She retired on February 14, 2020 from her position as the Sunny Kaufman Senior Curator at the NSU Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to continue her scholarly work on O’Keeffe and American modernism. From 1999–2012, she served as the founding curator of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she curated or oversaw more than thirty exhibitions of works by O’Keeffe and her contemporaries. Dr. Lynes was also the Founding Emily Fisher Landau Director of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center from 2001–2012. Prior to her work at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, seh served as an independent consultant to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. from 1992–1999 and has taught art history at Vanderbilt University, Dartmouth College, Montgomery College, and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Dr. Lynes holds a Ph.D. in French Literature from the University of California, Riverside and a Ph.D. in Art History from Indiana University Bloomington. She has written books, book chapters, and essays on O’Keeffe and other American modernists, including the award-winning two volume Georgia O’Keeffe catalogue raisonné (1999) that documents and authenticates O’Keeffe’s extensive oeuvre.


October 17, 2023
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Tucker Hall, Tucker Theater
350 James Blair Drive
Williamsburg, VA 23185 United States
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