Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai’i , was an exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden of her work created during nine weeks spent in Hawai’i in 1939. This accompanying book, edited by Joanna L. Groarke and Theresa Papanikolas, was a very interesting chronicle of O’Keeffe’s time spent there. She was hired by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now Dole Food Company) to visit the territory and create a series of paintings that could be used in print advertisements. During the nine weeks she spent in the islands, she created numerous paintings that were very much in her style, took many snapshots, and wrote wonderful descriptions of her experiences in letters sent home to her husband, Alfred Steiglitz.
Also included in this book are interesting background essays about the culture and ecology of Hawaii, and of how the territory of Hawaii was perceived in the 1930s as a tropical paradise, an “alluring fantasy.” It was all very interesting to read, as a view of Hawaii through the talent of an artist I love and through stories about what life was like at that time on the islands.
I read this book for my personal challenge, “WANDERLUST: Reading the States,” my effort to read books that are from or take place in each of the 50 United States. This book took place in Hawaii.