O’Keeffe’s lengthy legalese regarding “paintings owned by [and] lent to” her sister
TLS, two pages, 8.5 x 11, August 27, 1971. A detailed letter to her sister Anita addressed as Mrs. Robert R. Young residing at the Fairholme mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, making arrangements for the disposition of her paintings after Anita's passing. In part:
"This will confirm conversations between us regarding my paintings owned by you…and my paintings lent to you by me…As to those paintings owned by you…you agree upon your death by your last will and testament or other undertaking to cause these paintings to go to the institutions designated on List A. I would like you to make it a condition of such a gift that these institutions may not lend these paintings, except for once in twenty years. Such a loan could only be for a major retrospective exhibition of my work held by a museum…Such agreement on your part so to dispose of these paintings in no way restricts your right to sell them during your lifetime in case you are in personal need. Should you need to sell any of these paintings, however, you will give me or my legal representative the right to purchase the painting or paintings to be disposed of at the prices you paid for them…If you agree with the foregoing, please sign and initial both pages of the carbon copy of this letter and return to me as soon as possible."
O'Keeffe initials the bottom of the first page and boldly signs in full on page two. Accompanied by its original mailing envelope, and a photocopy of the letter and copies of the lists mentioned in O'Keeffe's letter. In fine condition.
O'Keeffe and her sister Anita were very close throughout their lifetime, and had both created economic freedoms that allowed them to do as they pleased. As a result, Anita never needed to sell her sister's work. Anita O'Keeffe Young died in 1985, one year before her famous sister, leaving behind the original artwork donated as directed. A unique blend of love and legality.
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