"I believe I would rather have Stieglitz like something--
anything I had done-- than anyone else I know of....
If I ever make anything that satisfies me even so little--
I am going to show it to him to find out if it's any good."
--Georgia O'Keeffe, 1915
"Those drawings-- how I understand them.
They are as if I saw a part of myself...."
--Alfred Stieglitz, 1916
Ah, to be understood. Even the best-known female painter who achieved fame and success in her own lifetime, Georgia O'Keeffe, struggled to feel validated by her favorite outside source--Alfred Stieglitz--her lover, companion, curator, photographer, husband and betrayer.
(Check out the DVD, Georgia O'Keeffe, starring Joan Allen. It's awesome!)
So, to like a fellow's art, is to see yourself in the work. That's pretty much just it, isn't it? People buy artwork usually because they see a part of themselves or their life in the work. So it's almost as if the viewer is also seeking validation from the artist who sees the viewer's self in her painting. It's how we all recognize each other...how we acknowledge the human condition, accept the not so perfect, and encourage the divine in each of us. It's how we know we are alive and were here...to make our mark and find ourselves in another's painting.
Human beings need us artists, just as we need others to appreciate our art. We artists validate them, substantiate their world, defend their beauty, affirm their hopes and dreams--or dream for them when they cannot, and live large and sing loud when they don't know how.