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Georgia O’Keeffe looms over American art of the twentieth century, her fame subsuming those who traveled in her life’s orbit. Because she outlived nearly all her family and friends, she shaped her story and the roles of others in it without fear of challenge. And so she did with her younger sister, Ida Ten Eyck O’Keeffe, whose artistic talent was sufficiently threatening to compel Georgia to malign her sister’s gifts for posterity by portraying her as a minor talent unworthy of serious consideration.

From their earliest art lessons in Wisconsin to the classrooms of Chatham Episcopal Institute (today Chatham Hall) and the University of Virginia’s summer sessions in Charlottesville, the sisters studied with the same teachers, thereby sharing the same pedagogic roots. (Interestingly, in those early years the family thought Ida possessed the greater talent.) In the 1910s, both sisters taught art at a succession of schools in the South. And, in 1918, both sisters arrived in New York City—Georgia having been plucked from her teaching position in Canyon, Texas, by Alfred Stieglitz, and Ida entering the three-year nursing program at Mount Sinai Hospital.

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