Women’s History Month: focus on Georgia O’Keefe and Zora Neale Hurston

Georgia O'Keefe, photo by Ansel Adams

Georgia O’Keefe [1887-1986]– artist

–most known for pictures of flowers influenced by her time spent in New Mexico: particularly red poppies
–studied at Art Institute of Chicago and Art Student’s League of New York
–worked in advertising and teaching until 1916
–photographer Alfred Stieglitz, with whom she had a three-decade open marriage beginning in 1924, arranged O’Keefe’s first art showing in New York

Oriental Poppies

–after Stieglitz died in 1946, O’Keefe moved to New Mexico permanently [she had been visiting since 1929]
–between 1946 and 1971, O’Keefe mounted major expos at national galleries. She got elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1969 and received the Medal of Freedom in 1977
–O’Keefe painted into her nineties

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston [1901-1960]—author

–grew up in all-black community of Eatonville, Fl
–Hurston attended Howard University and then won a scholarship to Barnard College [she was the first black woman to attend]
–At Barnard, Hurston developed literary connections in New York and garnered an interest in recording folklore by studying anthropology. After graduation, she collected folk stories from the American South, the Caribbean, and Honduras.

–Hurston wrote plays and novels
–her best known novel is Their Eyes Were Watching God [1937]
–other works:
Jonah’s Gourd Vine [1934]
Mules and Men [1935]
Moses, Man of the Mountain [1939]
Seraph on the Suwanee [1948]

Mules and Men (folklore collection)
Tell My Horse [study of Caribbean Voodoo practices, 1939]

Dust Tracks on a Road [autobiography1942]

–accused of sexual abuse in the late 40s, although in Honduras at the time, Hurston never recovered from the scandal and lived quietly and with little funds in Florida

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