One of the many gems in our archival collection is the correspondence between Georgia O’Keeffe and Dr. Barnes. Beginning in 1927, O’Keeffe often wrote to Dr. Barnes, in her beautiful, fluid penmanship, about setting up a visit to the gallery. Attached is a letter from November 1927 with her signature squiggles.
The correspondence also includes information about two O’Keeffe paintings, Still Life and Indian Woman, which Dr. Barnes purchased on March 21, 1930. However, these paintings did not remain in the collection. In a letter dated December 19, 1930, Barnes explains to O’Keeffe that he will be returning them to her, saying, “I gave the two paintings as fair a trial as I ever gave to newcomers in the collection. I tried them in every conceivable kind of company and I continued to do that for a period of six months. It did not turn out as I hoped and I took the pictures down early in September. I am deeply and sincerely sorry not only that I couldn’t fit the pictures in the collection but that I should have to tell you about it.”
Despite this incident, the two remained friends and continued to correspond until 1949. Upon Dr. Barnes’s death in 1951, O’Keeffe wrote a loving condolence letter to Laura Barnes.
Photo from pbs.org