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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Palette: Rebecca Strand and Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico

Carol Troyen, Kristin and Roger Servison Curator Emerita of American Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 1929, Georgia O’Keeffe and Rebecca Strand left their homes and famous photographer-husbands to travel to New Mexico in search of artistic independence. O’Keeffe was established by that time but often felt constrained by the artistic circle around Alfred Stieglitz. Beck Strand was trying to find her way as a painter in the shadow of Paul Strand’s growing success and in a community that seemed to have room for only one woman artist. Strand had a little-sister relationship with O’Keeffe, often dressing and wearing her hair like her better-known friend.  During the two summers they spent in Taos, O’Keeffe provided Strand with the support she needed to develop an independent artistic voice and a medium—painting on glass—that she could call her own. For Strand, who settled there permanently in 1933, Taos offered an environment that suited both her swashbuckling public persona and her delicate imagery. In this lecture held on March 18, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art, Carol Troyen shares how, for both artists, the Southwest offered a space where women artists could flourish.