Arts Everyday Living: Georgia O’Keeffe and the Pursuit of Happiness

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I think it’s so foolish for people to want to be happy.  Happiness is so momentary—you’re happy for an instant and then you start thinking again.  Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.*

Georgia O’Keeffe



Alfred Stieglitz, Hands, 1918, photograph, no location listed

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was in her early thirties when photographer and modern art promoter Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) created this somber study of the artist above, who would someday be one of the most revered figures of American culture. She modeled for her husband numerous times, resulting in more than 300 portraits that mark not only the intensity of their personal relationship, but also the depth of their artistic collaboration.

*I have been unable to find the exact source of the quote by O’Keeffe, but I have discovered a similar comment in her correspondence with friend Anita Politzer: I don like the idea of happiness—it is too momentary—I would say that I was always busy and interested in something—interest has more meaning then the idea of happiness.

The above photograph is in the U.S. public domain and has been used solely for educational purposes.

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