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Portrait of an Artist page

Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe
Seaview Books, Book-of-the-Month, Quality Paperback Book Clubs, 1980
Simon & Schuster/Washington Square Press/Atria Books, 1981, 1986 
University of New Mexico Press, revised hardcover edition, 1986
Blackstone Audiobooks, 1996

Published in Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Turkey 


News about Portrait of an Artist  

      Portrait of an Artist has been named the second-best biography of an artist in 2023 by Facts Chronicle, forty-three years after its initial publication in 1980!   

      It is now offered by StoryFair Audiobooks.     
      It is also included in Five Hundred Great Books by Women: A Reader's Guide

More of Laurie's writings about Georgia O'Keeffe

Review of "Equal Under the Sky: Georgia O'Keeffe and Twentieth Century Feminism" by Linda M. Grasso Woman's Art Journal, Spring/Summer 2018 

Review of Georgia O'Keeffe by Nancy J. Scott

 Women's Studies, Volume 45, Issue 5, 2016
"On Being O'Keeffe's First Biographer" in From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O'Keeffe as Icon, Addison-Wesley, 1992
"Viewing O'Keeffe" and "More on O'Keeffe," Journal of the Southwest, 1988, 1989
"Georgia O'Keeffe," Readers Companion to American History, 1991
"Georgia O'Keeffe: Public Notes on a Private Life," Rocky Mountain Magazine, April 1980

Selected Reviews of Portrait of an Artist

Portrait of an Artist is a superb piece of work in every respect...Not only does it document the full scope to date of this remarkable 20th-century life, but it does so directly, simply, and objectively. Clearly journalist Lisle has scooped the art world with an impressive literary debut." 


"Portrait of an Artist is a sensitive and beautifully documented biography. It moved me deeply--I can't remember when a book involved me so totally."
Patricia Bosworth, author, Diane Arbus: A Biography


"What a personality emerges from these pages!...Portrait of an Artist is filled with riches."

Joyce Carol Oates, Mademoiselle

"Portrait of an Artist is in many ways a remarkably informative book. Lisle has created a vivid and sensitive portrait of O'Keeffe as an artist and woman...Above and beyond the personal portrait, Lisle's biography is a marvelous evocation of the American places that have been important in the development of O'Keeffe's character and her art."

James R. Mellow, The Saturday Review


"Laurie Lisle has given us a mortal Georgia O'Keeffe, whose human hunger and frailties, gifts and strengths, enabled her to survive--triumphantly--a conflicted life. Many readers will draw encouragement and even inspiration from this portrait." 

Eleanor Munro, author, Originals: American Women Artists 


From the Foreword to Portrait of an Artist

"The idea for this book had its genesis in 1980 when I went to a retrospective of Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. There, four floors above the cacophony of Madison Avenue, her images of skulls floating in spacious, serene desert skies as well as blossoms of mysterious depths and brilliant hues spoke strongly to me of another world, bigger and more beautiful than the one around me..."My curiosity was aroused: Who was the little-known creator of these powerful paintings?"


"When I tried to find out, I was astonished to discover that no book existed to answer my questions. I continued searching and in 1976 visited the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. I pored over letters that O'Keeffe had written as a young woman to her friend Anita Pollitzer and in middle age to New Mexicans Mabel Dodge Luhan and Dorothy Brett. As I read her words, written in an upright calligraphic script composed of distinctive curlicues and wavy flourishes, their intensity seemed to vibrate off the paper and transmit a vigorous jolt the way her paintings did. I realized with growing excitement that her story was not only that of a gifted artist, but also of a forceful American woman with extraordinary qualities of intellect and character--and it was a story that I wanted to tell..."


"My portrait of the artist--the evolution of a Wisconsin farmer's daughter nicknamed Georgie into the matriarch of modern art known as O'Keeffe--was written with the hope that others might be moved by the example of her courageous, independent, and successful life. Writing this book has been an engrossing, exciting experience, for despite her elusiveness, Georgia O'Keeffe has given up great gifts not only in her paintings but also in the very way she lived her life."