The little attic was a God’s house aside from a profane chamber, where spirit was shaken free, and anarchy and the essence of the sexual was still left. It was actually a church, an eternal confirmation of a belief that existed here in New York, a spiritual America. If any American man guided the American people to have a relationship with people and trees, rocks and skies, helped them tune the worldly towards the eternal, it was this man with his black box and his chemical baths.

(Music critic Paul Rosenfeld about Alfred Stieglitz’ gallery, 291.)

Stieglitz was delighted with Georgia O’Keeffe’s drawings and told Anita Pollitzer that they were the “purest, finest, sincerest things that had entered 291 in a long while”, and that he would like to show them.

So in April 1916, he exhibited ten of her drawings. O’Keeffe knew that Stieglitz was planning to exhibit her work, but he had not told her when. Surprised to learn that her work was on view; she confronted Stieglitz over the drawings but agreed to let them remain on exhibit.

O’Keeffe: Special No 2, 1915

As a mentor, husband and protector Stieglitz became the most important figure in O’Keeffe’s life during 30 years.

He gave Georgia confidence and economical freedom to pursue her artistic ideas from 1918 and arranged her almost annual exhibitions at his gallery 291 and later at The Intimate Gallery and An American Place.


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