A BLUE SEERSUCKER DRESS BELONGING TO GEORGIA O'KEEFFE.
Seersucker blue wrap dress, with matching detached belt, in pale blue and white, shawl collar, approximately ankle-length, without labels indicating size or maker, likely made by O'Keefe's personal seamstress. Minor staining and yellowing, a few small tear holes near some seams.
Provenance: Georgia O'Keeffe; gifted to Marilyn Thuma (a.k.a. Mym Tuma, recorded in her contemporary manuscript diary of 1969).
GEORGIA O'KEEFE'S BLUE DRESS GIVEN TO MARILYN THUMA, at Ghost Ranch in July 1969. From her diary: "I carried it out later. Remembering the picture of her [O'Keeffe] in it, thinking it was the most wonderful material I had seen. I don't know how I knew this seersucker dress was blue before even seeing it, but I did." In 2017, the Brooklyn Museum mounted an exhibition featuring the art and clothes of O'Keeffe, called Living Modern. The curator, Wanda Corn, presents a study of O'Keeffe's wardrobe (much of it preserved at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum) in the context of her art and her sensibility, arguing in essence that her art, her fashion, and her architecture inseparably inhabit the idea of modernism in a way that no other artist of the 20th-century matches, "She created an uncompromising modern aesthetic and applied it equally not only to her painting but also to her dress and homes" (Corn, "Introduction," Living Modern, 2017). This wrap, custom sewed by her seamstress after a design by Neiman Marcus, was from the early 1960s one of her signature outfits, along with the black suit. A Threads magazine review of the Living Modern exhibition, summed it up, "The wrap dress was a staple for several decades in O'Keeffe's wardrobe. She bought her first wrap dress, an artist's smock, from Neiman Marcus in the late 1950s. She had her seamstress copy it in a variety of colors" (Schaefer, "A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Exhibit: 'Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern,'" Threads magazine, May 22, 2017).
The famous Todd Webb photograph of O'Keeffe at Abequiu in 1965 Georgia O'Keeffe in Front of "Sky Above Clouds II" shows her in just one of these seersucker wraps, and is likely the photograph Thuma refers to. See Corn, Wanda M. Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern, Brooklyn Museum, 2017.