In her brief biography Georgia O’Keeffe: The “Wideness and Wonder” of Her World, Beverly Gherman concentrates on those areas of the artist’s life that help to explain her unique approach to art. Gherman prefaces her work with a brief note in which she expresses her admiration of O’Keeffe’s strength as a woman, and she concludes with a colophon, or end note, in which the author describes a vision of O’Keeffe that appeared to her in New Mexico after the artist’s death. The vision served as Gherman’s inspiration for writing the book.
The first nine chapters, which cover 1887 through 1915, are devoted to O’Keeffe’s formative years. O’Keeffe displayed an intense appreciation of her surroundings from infancy. Because of her mother’s interest in art, O’Keeffe began taking art lessons at an early age and continued doing so until she became an established artist. She attended school in Wisconsin, Virginia, Chicago, and New York, and she also taught art in Texas, Virginia, and South Carolina.
O’Keeffe’s early life on a Wisconsin farm influenced her love of nature and helped to establish her love of solitude and dedication to hard work, qualities that remained throughout her life. After moving to Virginia with her family during her teens, other enduring characteristics of O’Keeffe emerged, such as self-confidence and scorn for the opinion of others.
Chapters 10 through 14 concentrate on...
(The entire section is 457 words.)