Author offers insight to Hawaii’s history

  • “Visions of Hawaii” by Georgia O’Keeffe

It is exciting to present this Georgia O’Keeffes book to you, as her works of art have been an integral part of Hawaiian history; this new May 15 release is no exception.

This beautiful book, “Visions of Hawaii,” is actually the exhibit catalogue to the New York Botanical Gardens exhibition from Saturday, May 19 – Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, co-produced by Theresa Papanikolas, Ph.D., of the Honolulu Museum of Art and Joanna L. Groarke. This landmark exhibition curated by Papanikolas, offers 20 art pieces of O’Keeffe’s renderings of Hawai‘i.

In 1939, age 51, Georgia O’Keeffe was beginning to be considered that her artistic abilities from her focus on the U.S. Midwest. Out of nowhere, she was contacted by Dole, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, to produce two canvasses for a promotional campaign.

This was at a time where very few women artists were even invited to the islands. The invitation turned into nine weeks of revelation and was an inspirational catalyst for her art as well as for the next part of her career.

The New York exhibit is focused on the botanical aspects of Hawaii, and therefore the book is rich in botanical culture but also tantalizes us with an incredible history of Hawaii’s ecology.

Not only do we learn more of O’Keeffe’s life, but throughout there are first-time-seen presentations to the general public including legendary botanist Otto Degener’s 1985 essay “Losing Paradise,” an article in “Science” magazine which most of the public never saw.

Included is a chapter on the 1930s, explaining how Hawaii starting becoming part of the consciousness of the American culture, including wonderful images of advertising and other art from the time by many other artists which affected American culture greatly, especially the rich and famous.

Definitely a worthy read.


Ed Justus and Cynthia Lynn are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.


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