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Santa Fe’s O’Keeffe Museum gifted Frances O’Brien materials

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s Research Center today announced that it has received a donation of historic correspondence and other materials involving O’Keeffe and a close friend, portrait artist and writer Frances O’Brien.

The gift comes from Brian and Bina Garfield in honor of Mr. Garfield’s mother – O’Brien – and will become part the Museum’s Research Center archives.

Frances O'Brien. (Courtesy of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum)

Frances O’Brien. (Courtesy of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum)

The gift comprises correspondence between O’Brien and O’Keeffe between 1946 and 1973, interviews with  O’Brien, and images of O’Keeffe and O’Brien from the 1940s to the 1970s.

“The Museum is committed to ensuring the preservation of the legacy of Georgia O’Keeffe and to the stewardship of the collections at the Museum. The O’Brien collection is a significant and welcomed addition to our archives,” said Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Director Rob Kret in a news release.

The museum said the correspondence between O’Keeffe and O’Brien explores the women’s lives as artists, mentions business and personal matters, and “provides valuable primary source insight into the time period in which they lived.”

A telegram from Georgia O'Keeffe to Frances O'Brien. (Courtesy of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum)

A telegram from Georgia O’Keeffe to Frances O’Brien. (Courtesy of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum)

O’Brien (1904-1990) painted portraits of well-known subjects such as Irving Berlin, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, William L. Shirer, Winston S. Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Grandma Moses, primarily for The Saturday Review.

“We are overjoyed by the Garfield’s generous gift to the Research Center,” said Eumie Imm Stroukoff, Emily Fisher Landau Director of the Research Center. “We believe that the O’Brien collection will open new avenues for scholarship due to the scope of the correspondence and the content in the interviews.”

Elizabeth Ehrnst, archives and digital collections librarian, added: “The papers have been processed and a guide to the collection is available on the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s website. By the end of this summer, the public will have online access to digital images of both the photographs and letters.”

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