Girl with Brush and Canvas: Georgia O'Keeffe, American Artist

320p. Calkins Creek. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781629799346.
Gr 6–9—She was a masterful painter and a towering figure of 20th-century American art. She was athletic, musical, a skilled seamstress, and a romantic. Though fiercely independent throughout her long life and contented being alone, she made lasting friendships. Readers will learn all this and more from Meyer's detailed fictionalized biography. The title brings readers into O'Keeffe's world starting at age 12—when she first announced that she wanted to be an artist—through her years as a child, teen, young adult, then mature adult—from growing up on her family's farm to attending schools in Wisconsin; then studying art in Chicago and New York City; working as a fashion illustrator and artist in New York; then teaching in high schools and universities in Virginia, South Carolina, and Texas. Teens will also learn about her romances, including her marriage to famed photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz; her travels; and her steady progress toward great success and fame. Narrated in first-person, this is an interesting glimpse into early- and mid-20th-century America and the life of a complex woman. Meyer has researched O'Keeffe's life intensively and, for much of the book, the narrator's voice rings true—but not always. Some details—O'Keeffe's descriptions of her artistic processes, for example—sometimes seem contrived to sound like spoken narrative but may cause readers' attention to wander. However, budding romantics and artists should appreciate this work.
VERDICT Recommended for public and school collections. A useful selection for art history and women's studies units.

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