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!DOWNLOAD E-PUB ⚉ Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury ☹ A captivating, spirited account of the intense relationship among four artists whose strong personalities, passionate feelings, and aesthetic ideals drew them together, pulled them apart, and profoundly influenced the very shape of twentieth century artNew York,Alfred Stieglitz, the most influential figure in early twentieth century photography, celebrates the success of his latest exhibition the centerpiece, a series of nude portraits of the young Georgia O Keeffe, soon to be his wife It is a turning point for O Keeffe, poised to make her entrance into the art scene and for Rebecca Salsbury, the fianc e of Stieglitz s prot g at the time, Paul Strand When Strand introduces Salsbury to Stieglitz and O Keeffe, it is the first moment of a bond between the two couples that will last than a decade and reverberate throughout their lives In the years that followed, O Keeffe and Stieglitz became the preeminent couple in American modern art, spurring each other s creativity Observing their relationship led Salsbury to encourage new artistic possibilities for Strand and to rethink her own potential as an artist In fact, it was Salsbury, the least known of the four, who was the main thread that wove the two couples lives together Carolyn Burke mines the correspondence of the foursome to reveal how each inspired, provoked, and unsettled the others while pursuing seminal modes of artistic innovation The result is a surprising, illuminating portrait of four extraordinary figures 3.75 starsAn oddly dissatisfying biopic looking at the brief tangential moment when Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury, Alfried Stieglitz and Georgia O Keefe formed an intimate art circle at the height of the New York Gallery 291 era Everyone knows that Georgia O Keefe is the one we remember and it is the women, and their bond of friendship that I wanted to know the most about O Keefe and Salsbury also a painter were the most interesting aspect of the book for me. narrative traces the relations of these four strong people over several decades, in the hope of depicting the sometimes joyful, sometimes exasperated intermingling of their lives as artists, lovers, and friends I came to this review copy because of my interest in all four of the principals Previous individual studies afforded me an insight relative to this book But my supreme interest was in Georgia O Keeffe, enough so that my partner and I engag narrative traces the relations of these four strong people over several decades, in the hope of depicting the sometimes joyful, sometimes exasperated intermingling of their lives as artists, lovers, and friends I came to this review copy because of my interest in all four of the principals Previous individual studies afforded me an insight relative to this book But my supreme interest was in Georgia O Keeffe, enough so that my partner and I engaged in a subsequent summer adventure to her New Mexico stomping grounds, particularly Santa Fe, Taos, Abiquiu, and the Ghost Ranch Though a bit long in the tooth, this extensive biography of this foursome serves the reader with abundant curiosity and titillation Even with Stieglitz often leading the way, and his reluctance to exit the stage, the other three characters contribute enough to make their lives remarkable Always the tension of sexuality in the foreground, masked or shaded, and even full frontal when least expected Steiglitz was on a crusade to convert those colleagues whose work he deemed technically perfect, pictorially rotten He told a friend, I would rather be a first class photographer in a community of first class photographers than the greatest photographer in a community of nonentities Steiglitz believed that his mission was to teach Americans to seek vitality in art as in life This book is obviously about expression Each character dealing with their own inadequacies and attempting to find their way into the art they individually craved and needed in order to live What begins as basically two couples sharing their world together devolves into a singular artistic mission of each individual Judging by the shots of Beck cradling her ample breasts, she understood his desire for women to seem complicitous in the taking of their likeness Steiglitz would always appreciate how easily she gave herself to his camera, and to his fantasies Interesting to note how Rebecca Strand missed being photographed when her husband was away on a shoot, and Alfred and Georgia were nowhere in the vicinity The competition previously created by Alfred between he and Paul Strand to shoot nude photographs of Rebecca was not surprising at all The tension and playfulness behind the seduction of a camera, from both ends, is exhilarating and can be likened to withdrawal from a drug when not used regularly and in full measure Alfred suffered from his apartness from Rebecca and her ample breasts as much as Beck yearned to be naked and naughty in front of his camera Ultimately the resulting jealousy ruined the relationship between Stieglitz and Strand In Georgia s view, one had to face the shadows in order to carry on The vision ahead may seem a bit bleak but my feeling about life is a curious kind of triumphant feeling about seeing it black knowing it is so and walking into it fearlessly because one has no choice O Keeffe went through dark periods in her life, especially when Alfred was having his long term affair with his married assistant Dorothy Norman Georgia attempted to win Alfred back and lost, which sent her into a dismal place she struggled for eighteen months or so to get out of While recovering back east she was not happy with the lushness Everything is so soft here I do not workI walk much and endure the green Rebecca also suffered in her later years Aging, and the ailments that can come with it, was proving to be a challenge pain is my constant companiona rather bitter swap for what we thought would be some wonderful last years together they have been blasted and we must face whatever lies ahead But if I am to eventually become bed ridden I don t want to live With Alfred Stieglitz dead, and O Keeffe free to live as she wanted, she purchased a small home to renovate and expand in Abiquiu, and four years later moved there full time, still spending summers at her adobe home in Ghost Ranch about twelve miles to the north She was free to also travel a bit, but always glad to come homeMost of what I see traveling are people unsatisfied hunting the unknown that they will never find Maybe I am queer that I am so singularly pleased with the life I have in N.M I have been working, she told Anita, trying to work my garden into a kind of permanent shape so that if I live for twenty five years it will be pleasant to walk about in by the time I am too old to do anything else O Keeffe s friend Anita Politzer worked on a biography with her approval When Politzer sent O Keeffe the finished manuscript she received a letter of rejection Georgia offered to pay for her time but Anita never recovered from the shock She disdained Politzer s view of her as happy I do not like the idea of happyness sic it is too momentary I would say that I was always busy and interested in something interest hasmeaning to me than the idea of happyness As a precursor to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and their own sociological struggles resulting in song and protest, O Keeffe broached the subject of the inequality of women On the subject of her experience as a female artist, O Keeffe said that the men she knew all made it very plain that as a woman I couldn t make it Then, with a liberated smile, she added, women have always been treated like Negroes in this country and they don t know it It is not surprising that Georgia was the last one to go Her independent spirit and love for creative endeavors kept her engaged in life As much as the other three characters all brought to the table, O Keeffe was the magnificent centerpiece In her eighties, Georgia reflected that her relationship with Alfred had been really very good, because it was based on somethingthan just emotional needs She added, Both of us were very interested in what the other was doingOf course, you do your best to destroy each other without knowing it Tangled LivesThe voluminous correspondence of four charismatic companions inspires Carolyn Burke s latest forensic biography Burke s impressive new book Foursome provides, among other things, a compelling portrait of American modernism in the making The players here are no less than iconoclastic painter Georgia O Keeffe and her mentor and lover, the domineering photographer Alfred Stieglitz, whose artistic circle Edward Steichen, Arthur Dove, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Paul Strand, and Edwa Tangled LivesThe voluminous correspondence of four charismatic companions inspires Carolyn Burke s latest forensic biography Burke s impressive new book Foursome provides, among other things, a compelling portrait of American modernism in the making The players here are no less than iconoclastic painter Georgia O Keeffe and her mentor and lover, the domineering photographer Alfred Stieglitz, whose artistic circle Edward Steichen, Arthur Dove, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Paul Strand, and Edward Weston shaped the paradigm for American visual art Burke s exploration expands beyond the two better known artists to include Strand, an acolyte of Stieglitz who went on to document proletariat struggles in Mexico and various emerging nations, as well as his wife Rebecca Salsbury who for a decade was O Keeffe s close companion How close Well, you ll need to read the book to decide Yet it is O Keeffe and Stieglitz who emerge most indelibly Their mercurial, often maniacal devotion to their art and to each other practically leaps off Burke s absorbing pages.Eager to establish himself as an arbiter of the American avant garde, Stieglitz initiated the influential 291 gallery on Fifth Avenue after the Great War Stieglitz quest for new talent led him to a young school teacher named Georgia O Keeffe Upon first seeing O Keeffe s charcoal drawings in 1915 he exclaimed, Finally a woman on paper A woman gives herself.The moment when O Keeffe and Stieglitz caught fire, both personally and professionally, came at the 1918 exhibition of his nude photographs The sensual photographs of O Keeffe s torso and breasts created a media sensation From then on their careers became the stuff of gossip, praise, and legend.The central core of Burke s generous research, including key illustrations, chronicles the years from 1920 to 1934 in which the four companions wove a web of mutual flirtation, seduction, artistic experimentation, jealousy, betrayal, and greater, or lesser, fame.Burke quotes lavishly from what must have been a blizzard of letters among the four, as well as their other paramours Weary of being psychoanalyzed by male critics, O Keeffe hoped for a female interpreter and in the late 20s approached Mabel Dodge, whose artist colony at Taos had hosted D.H Lawrence, Carl Jung, and Henry Miller I feel there is something unexplored about woman that only a woman can explore, O Keeffe wrote to Dodge Taos enchanted both O Keeffe and Salsbury, who drove out to New Mexico together in spring of 1929 We have had a beautiful relationship together and feel the need of nobody else, Beck wrote to her husband I am entirely myself in her company Over the course of endless transformative discoveries, O Keeffe s work became internationally famous The shadow of Stieglitz was long indeed, but not long enough to contain the willful and promiscuous O Keeffe, whose genius was matched by her stunning independence She was the first woman to have a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946 As Stieglitz 23 years her senior grew crusty and narcissistic, O Keeffe reinvented herself and her interests in New Mexico, eventually moving there permanently while Stieglitz found new female acolytes to tend his hearth and other needs But as the letters show, their love was strong and passionate to the very end of Stieglitz life in 1946 at the age of 81 O Keeffe flourished for another 40 years as a painter, proto feminist, and connoisseur of the southwest Her own fame ebbed and flowed, but what emerges most vibrantly in Burke s text is O Keeffe s courage in rejecting the status quo The book shows us a woman unafraid to love deeply without ever objectifying herself for a man s approval A stunning achievement in any era While we never catch as full a glimpse of Salsbury, Burke s pages show her as a woman in quest of elusive accomplishment Similarly, the methodical Strand seems to have stultified true fulfillment Stieglitz emerges as a man of great power and influence, yet Foursome s letters and Burke s analysis show him to be an unlikeable neurotic and controlling keeper of his own legacy The courageous biographer must take her subjects flaws, strengths, and all and shape them into flesh and blood moments of history Burke succeeds brilliantly Christina Waters I thought this book gave equal time to all these artists in particular Rebecca Salisbury, who often seems to disappear historically after her divorce from Paul Strand Insightful and a pleasant read I really enjoyed it Interesting account of 4 very intense personalities I came out of it withadmiration for Georgia O Keeffe and an interest in Rebecca Salsbury James However, I feel, and of course that means it is an opinion, that the two men in their lives Steiglitz and Strand were extremely egotistical but necessary given the socio political atmosphere toward women at the time I thought there was much poetry in the rhythm and intertwining of their lives albeit discordant at times, and was relieved when Interesting account of 4 very intense personalities I came out of it withadmiration for Georgia O Keeffe and an interest in Rebecca Salsbury James However, I feel, and of course that means it is an opinion, that the two men in their lives Steiglitz and Strand were extremely egotistical but necessary given the socio political atmosphere toward women at the time I thought there was much poetry in the rhythm and intertwining of their lives albeit discordant at times, and was relieved when they all broke up and went their own directions This is the story of two artist couples Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O Keeffe and their far less famous friends, Paul Strand and Rebecca Salsbury I ve long admired O Keeffe s work and have read a lot about her, so there wasn t much I didn t remember reading before, other than the odd fact that O Keeffe and Salbury both liked plastic flowers I did enjoy seeing Salsbury s art and learning about her father s connection to the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, but I couldn t bring myself to really car This is the story of two artist couples Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O Keeffe and their far less famous friends, Paul Strand and Rebecca Salsbury I ve long admired O Keeffe s work and have read a lot about her, so there wasn t much I didn t remember reading before, other than the odd fact that O Keeffe and Salbury both liked plastic flowers I did enjoy seeing Salsbury s art and learning about her father s connection to the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, but I couldn t bring myself to really care about the tortured relationship that she had with Strand eventually they divorced There is, of course, plenty about Stieglitz and O Keeffe For the deep emotional details of their relationship, I recommend a better source Sara Greenough s compilation of their letters, My Faraway One Carolyn Burke does offerof what his mistress, Dorothy Norman, thought about their relationship Burke also addresses the theory that O Keeffe had a sexual relationship with Salsbury and or Jean Toomer and concludes the answer is no.There is such a thing as too much detail and at times it really weighs down this book Yet other times, it seems like the detail is strangely missing In the chapter on Stiglitz s early life there is a single sentence dealing with Steiglitz admission that while in Germany, he fathered a child to whom he sent an annual allowance What s really odd is that this is in parentheses, suggesting to me that the editor added it later, perhaps even over the objections of the author.Stieglitz was a pioneer, the leader of the movement to make photography an art form and quite a good judge of modern art However, he had such an ego and the facts about what he did and said make it seem like he must have been an insufferable narcissist Yet, he must have had quite the personality as young women and aspiring artists seemed to flock to him and O Keeffe accommodated his infidelity even when it was at the expense of her own mental health I was provided a review copy of this from the publisher through First to Read I admit unfamiliarity with three of the foursome, though I recognize Strand and of course, O Keeffe I got to see an exhibition of some if her works in Oklahoma some 30 years ago, too young to truly appreciate them and I didn t make many notes in this reading just absorbed There are intimate stories here I do not know how much is known already to students of these four, but I suspect obviously, as the book had I was provided a review copy of this from the publisher through First to Read I admit unfamiliarity with three of the foursome, though I recognize Strand and of course, O Keeffe I got to see an exhibition of some if her works in Oklahoma some 30 years ago, too young to truly appreciate them and I didn t make many notes in this reading just absorbed There are intimate stories here I do not know how much is known already to students of these four, but I suspect obviously, as the book had to be written that having them all together is new, and perhaps unknown.More than a telling of their stories, Ms Burke also frames the times that shaped them, shaped their arts New arts to the world, new visions, self discovery and explorations One of the things I appreciate about Ms Burke s exposition and sometime dramatization is that she qualifies any speculation if she found no evidence to support suspected relationships, interactions, she doesn t embellish Or at least those parts of her narrative where she caveats tempting to think but impossible to know would indicate.We tend to think in two dimensions, and might think of a foursome as a rectangle quadrangle, but they were rather a tetrahedron, with Steiglitz at the apex for most of their relationships O Keeffe eclipsed him in fame and ascended to that apex, but his seniority tended to prevail This is not to say that any of the other three were not their own people, individual and distinct Clearly, they were, but he was the progenitor of that foursome They fed off of each other Built And also held each other at bay To preserve their individuality.This is about the people, and much less their arts, which serve to support here but not stand center So what do I take away Well, I looked up Salsbury s reverse oils on glass, and Stieglitz s and Strand s photographs And I revisited O Keeffe And I have things to think about Started out slow, and verged on TMI sometimes but ultimately a first rate account of three major artists and a minor one Rebecca Strand from around 1914 to around 1934, with a lengthy followup for each of the four for the rest of their lives I don t really have much to add to the NYRB review, but I may come back and add some details Strong 4 stars, and essential reading for art history, O Keeffe and Stieglitz fans.Here s the NY Times review, the only decent one I saw online, since NYRB pa Started out slow, and verged on TMI sometimes but ultimately a first rate account of three major artists and a minor one Rebecca Strand from around 1914 to around 1934, with a lengthy followup for each of the four for the rest of their lives I don t really have much to add to the NYRB review, but I may come back and add some details Strong 4 stars, and essential reading for art history, O Keeffe and Stieglitz fans.Here s the NY Times review, the only decent one I saw online, since NYRB paywalled theirs That s the one to read, if you re intrigued by the book an O Keeffe fan, and former resident of northern NM, this book has immediate appeal, Here are some excerpts from the NYRB s lengthy review, online at sadly, now paywalled Stieglitz exhibits some of O Keeffe s early drawings It was January 1, 1916, his fifty second birthday Without asking O Keeffe, Stieglitz exhibited ten of the drawings in May, and began a cautious but steady courtship, much of it epistolary, since she had several other suitors and soon left Charleston to chair the art department at West Texas State Normal College.O Keeffe was twenty three years younger than Stieglitz She was completely Other to him, Rose remarks Her style was midwestern, her clothes austere and androgynous Self reliant, strong minded, tart and snappy, she was the free American Girl who had never been to Europe and had no interest in going there They married in 1924, after his divorce When they were together, they couldn t keep their hands off each other Even during much of Stieglitz s long affair from the late 1920s on with Dorothy Norman, a New York activist and art patron, he and O Keeffe made love often, and their letters are full of references to their intense sexual connection It even seems to be my only memory of you, she wrote to him in 1922, two bodies that have fused have touched with completeness at both ends making a complete circuit The circle with two centers each touching the other The earliest nudes in Stieglitz s composite portrait of O Keeffe, created before the two became lovers, were part of their courtship I ll make you fall in love with yourself, Stieglitz told her For readers of Foursome new to the Stieglitz O Keeffe legend, the big surprise may be Rebecca Salsbury Beck who practically climbs out of the book and gallops off Salsbury was muchinterested in cultivating her friendship with O Keeffe, who dazzled her Aloof by nature and wary of Stieglitz s followers, O Keeffe warmed to Salsbury over the years During the summers at Lake George they painted and did chores together O Keeffe included some of Salsbury s pastels in the April 1928 show she curated at the Opportunity Gallery Like O Keeffe, Salsbury chose to exhibit under her maiden name She told Beck her artistic world had beauty and power in it, though she could probably see the work was stylistically indebted to her The pinnacle of their affection was a 1929 trip alone together to the home of Mabel Dodge Luhan, patron of the avant garde, near the art colony in Taos, New Mexico an idyll of painting, drinking, and mild mischief that O Keeffe took pains to conceal from her elderly husband Salsbury taught O Keeffe how to drive I normally love art history non fiction books, but this was just okay for some reason it just never absorbed me I love O Keefe s and Steiglitz work and knew of Strand s as well And getting to know Salisbury and her role with all the others was enlightening, along with her own work But as a story it just never gelled It feltlike a listing off of facts and events Maybe it was because I d just read Ninth Street Women, which enthralled me By the end of this I was skimming just to get it I normally love art history non fiction books, but this was just okay for some reason it just never absorbed me I love O Keefe s and Steiglitz work and knew of Strand s as well And getting to know Salisbury and her role with all the others was enlightening, along with her own work But as a story it just never gelled It feltlike a listing off of facts and events Maybe it was because I d just read Ninth Street Women, which enthralled me By the end of this I was skimming just to get it over with