Portrait of an Artist: Georgia O’Keeffe – review

By Alice Weitzel and Lucy Brownbridge

Published by Quarto Books ISBN 978-0-7112-4878-6

Reviewed by Louise Date

Georgia O’Keeffe is often labelled the ‘Mother of American Modernism’, and this portrait of one of the best known female artists of all time seeks to open children’s eyes to her achievements as a trailblazer. The ‘art story’, written by Lucy Brownridge and illustrated by Alice Weitzel covers O’Keeffe’s life, from her childhood under the blue skies of Wisconsin to the discovery of her sanctuary in New Mexico where her decline was marked with new leaps in her artistic output.

There’s lots of investigation into O’Keefe’s inspirations, as well as her own role in inspiring others to use bold colour, big forms, and bright shapes, and the back index features a 10 painting guide to some of the most recognisable and ground-breaking pieces of O’Keefe’s work.

The style used by Weitzel is simple, and uses a very basic colour palette on each page, with a limited use of line to create naïve spreads that show sweeping scenes of the landscapes of O’Keefe’s life.

Although Werlitz’s images are bright, cheerful and easily understandable, the choice of interspersing the double page spreads with O’Keefe’s own work is perhaps a little jarring, and results in the focus of the book disappearing into the vast planes of colour – which is puzzling given the biographical nature of the work. The narrative itself however is presented clearly, with phrases that would be suitable for a confident reader, or for a parent to introduce their child to a new artistic idol.


2nd July 2020
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