Fashion-industry trade journal Women’s Wear Daily reviewed “Georgia O’Keeffe: Art, Image, Style” which is on view at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, through April 1, 2018. Estrellita Karsh shares her recollections in the article.
“Estrellita Karsh, the wife of the esteemed portrait photographer Yousuf, believes her husband mentioned how the artist wore couture made by Christian Dior. In 1956, Karsh traveled to New Mexico to shoot O’Keeffe. That portrait hangs near the entrance to what used to be her Abiquiu home, which is now a museum run by the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation.
“She really presents herself in many areas – in women’s rights, women’s independence. Taking herself to the desert and the fact that she was a schoolteacher who came to New York to a gallery that was in itself revolutionary. That was very, very push-the-envelope,” Karsh said. “She crafted her own image and the clothes were part of it. In this sense, the clothes not only made the man, they made the woman, or she made the clothes [making] the woman. So no stylist dressed her.”
Karsh added, “She didn’t have to do this. If she had worn slippers and a nightgown, her art would have been wonderful. But look at what she did with her clothes. Her clothes seemed so carefree, but they weren’t – they were calculated.”
Estrellita Karsh once caught a glimpse of the artist years ago during a salute to Pablo Casals at Carnegie Hall, where “100 cellists from all over the world had dropped whatever they were doing to come in his honor.” Karsh said she told her husband, “Look at this woman. She’s so beautiful.” He said, ‘That’s Georgia O’Keeffe.’…She was beautiful as a person, not a movie star but this was a presence – great energy.””