Barbara Novak

  • “Georgia O'Keeffe: The Poetry of Things”

    Lee Krasner, watching Georgia O’Keeffe on television in the Perry Miller Adato documentary, sarcastically remarked, “She comes on like Shirley Temple.” Of course, neither Krasner nor O’Keeffe could legitimately be compared to little tap-dancing Shirley, curls bobbing up and down the screen, dimpled smile never dimming. Krasner and O’Keeffe were both tough women. Indeed, the durable hardness of O’Keeffe’s persona, accurately symbolized by the animal bones and rocks of her Western landscape, contrasts with the fragility of her most widely admired subjects, the flowers she painted for most of her

  • Landscape Permuted: From Painting to Photography

    NO STUDY OF NATURE ATTITUDES in 19th-century America can be adequate without considering their late rehearsal in a new medium. Landscape photography extended further the early impulse to capture “undefiled nature.” As might be expected, this was accomplished in the “virgin land” of the West by photographers hot on the heels of the illustrators and artists who had accompanied the earliest expeditions. At a moment when the desire to commune with nature had matured to the point of mellowing, the photographers injected it with a fresh quota of reality and fact, informed on the one hand by a sensitivity