A glossary of charcoal footprints on paper: here a slash, there a fat wave of liquid line, here the smear of a hot and urgent press. Who made these? People asked, of the aging artist’s early work. I was alive and singularly free, she told them. Having neither fame nor proximity to greatness, she had no reason to attempt real art. Not yet. These were only experiments, rehearsals for a greatness to come later. They may be her best work.
In preparation for visiting a local Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, I came across this article suggesting the technical superiority of the artist’s early work in charcoal and watercolor on paper. The title of a spring exhibit featuring this early work (at MOMA) is To See Takes Time.