Georgia O’Keeffe and Todd Webb met in 1946. That year she was the first woman to be honored with a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Webb, a photographer and protégé of the artist’s husband Alfred Stieglitz, documented the exhibition. That same year, Webb’s urban scenes were shown at the Museum of the City of New York, curated by influential photographic historian Beaumont Newhall. Despite these professional accomplishments, it was also a time of loss as Stieglitz died in July of that year. They went on to have a long friendship and Webb visited O’Keeffe in New Mexico multiple times. Their friendship is documented in a series of photographs on exhibit alongside works by O’Keeffe.
In 1961, O’Keeffe traveled with Lucille and Todd Webb along with a dozen other friends on a ten-day raft trip down the Colorado River to Glen Canyon, Utah. After the trip, Webb presented O’Keeffe with an album of photographs from their shared experience. With his camera focused on the artist, he also framed the extraordinary beauty of the canyons accessible only on the water. An album produced to commemorate the trip will be displayed.
In a 1981 letter to the photographer, O’Keeffe remembered a day in 1946 which solidified their friendship. She was packing artwork for her MoMA exhibition. “I had the world to myself to pack up thirty or forty paintings to go. It looked like quite a formidable task…. When you saw the problem you started right in to help me. I may have seen you before, talking with Stieglitz, but I never spoke with you. However, I will never forget your helping me for hours—a person, almost a stranger—till we had everything packed and ready to go.”