Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)


While researching Still Life and hearing the lecture about the development of Still Life in America, I got intrigued by the flower paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe , and decided to take a closer look at her art here.

Georgia O ‘Keeffe was originally from Wisconsin, but it was in New Mexico that she discovered a place where she wanted to come back and paint for over 40 years. “As soon as I saw it , it was my country”

Nature was her subject and this landscape of New Mexico became key to her work.

As an art student she was very talented and could easily copy the masters, but she was not interested.In 1915 she painted a series of abstracts with nature as her point of departure, new bold and unusual paintings.

Alfred Stieglitz who was already established as a photographer saw them , became very enthusiastic and showed 10 of them in a group show in 1916. The next year he organized Georgia O’Keeffe’ s first solo show in Gallery 291 in New York.

Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe fell in love, they later married and lived in New York City, inspiring and influencing each others work.

Stieglitz took more than 300 photographs of Georgia O’Keeffe , many intimate, and when he showed them publicly he created an image of her as a sexual and sensual woman.

Between 1918 – 1923 Georgia O’Keeffe painted some of the most original and significant abstractions of American art. But when she showed a solo show with 200 pieces of art, critics described her work as sexual, influenced by the image created by Stieglitz photographs.

She then turned deliberately to recognizable subjects in an original fusion of abstract and real.

In the 1920’s her work earned a lot of recognition, it was agreat success.

When Stieglitz passed away in 1946, she moved to New Mexico- her spiritual home where she painted til her death in 1986.

According to Wikipedia, O’Keeffe has been recognized as the “Mother of American Modernism”.

What attracts me to the flower paintings  is the very bold cropping and the non existance of detail. It is as far away as possible from my too cramped and detailed sketch of objects floating on a huge white paper. The whole image is a flowing of colour and line, but anyway conveys the beauty, characteristics and feeling of the different flowers. I want to sketch some flowers in spired by Georgia O’Keeffe to overcome my fear of cropping and of leaving out detail and learn to focus on the colour and feeling of the subject without getting lost in outline and detail.



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