“Anya, we are starting a REAL art lovers book club. We will go deep into the artist’s psyche and study it inside out…you’ve got to join….” Okay, said I without thinking twice. This was my old friend Susan Dunis who shared with me the first years of Musical Bridges, an artist and fun person to be around, spontaneous and light. I did not look at my schedule, I am loyal to my friends, if they want to do something I support it without asking questions…

The first artist selected was Edward Hopper. When the book arrived I got a queer feeling that maybe I should have checked my schedule before I agreed to join a club– it was 650 pages thick! Two hundred pages into the book in my spare time between Musical Bridges concerts, practicing piano and business meetings, I felt I did not do my best and went to the next meeting slightly embarrassed with the secret thought of giving up. We selected Georgia O’Keeffe to be our next artist to get deep into the psyche and it was the beginning of my new love.

Georgia O'Keefe White Jimson Weed The white flower turned out to be Georgia O’Keeffe
Jimson Weed,1932
Oil on canvas
48 x 40 inches
Estate of Anita O’Keeffe Young

I have always loved Georgia O’Keefe’s red poppies and her white flower shared my troublesome years on my bedroom wall as a symbol of female wellbeing, beauty and contentment. Now, thanks to Georgia O’Keeffe I got introduced to the beginning of American Modernism. I did not know much about and her significant other, Arthur Stieglitz. I grew up on Russian and Europeans art and this new acquaintance opened a new dimension in my understanding and respect for American art.

I told Rob about by new interest in American Modernism and one morning he announced he had just ordered six books on Stieglitz. Now I feel I can write a dissertation on Stieglitz and his role in American Modernism. While getting introduced to this period in art I went to a couple of half-price book stores in search of hidden treasures and became an art album junky… yes so far mostly American Modernists. Now my piano in the living room is covered with open art books and creativity is flying in the air. I wonder how it affects my Schubert that I practice every morning before my first coffee…

I do not entertain ideas about quitting my book club any more; my concern at this point is not to be kicked out for disrupting the class by too many suggestion of who’s psyche I would like to get deep in to…Next I want to learn about Modernism in Architecture and furniture. We are planning to take a road trip to Santa Fee soon to see Georgia’s house in Albuquerque, visit the site she found so inspirational and breathe the air she found so intoxicating. Of course we are also planning to indulge in one of the best gallery and culinary adventures in Santa Fe.

It is good to have friends in our lives, friends who stimulate our brains and introduce new ideas and to a great extent influence our quality of life. It is good to have friends who share your sense of never ending wonder. If it had not been for Stieglitz the world would not have Georgia O’Keeffe, and I would not have her white flower on my wall and our trip to Santa Fe would have been just casual travel. If I would not have my friends …I do not even want to think about that…