Artist Feature: Georgia O’Keeffe Artist Feature: Georgia O’Keeffe
mary fedorowski stairwell in soft pastel colors

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Artist Feature: Georgia O’Keeffe

Artist Feature: Georgia O’Keeffe

Written by:
Wendy Bonham-Carter
Apr 03, 2024

One of the most famous American women painters, Georgia O’Keeffe’s still lifes of flowers and landscape paintings are known for their sumptuous details and organic forms. Her paintings often feature uniquely American flora and fauna and depict the iconic landscape of her Southwest home. Her long working life yielded an incredibly prolific body of work, and she was enormously influential on other modern and contemporary artists. Her work began veering toward abstraction around 1915, making her one of the earliest pioneers of abstract painting, especially in America.

O’Keeffe was born in a small Wisconsin town and grew up on a dairy farm. She was interested in art from a young age, and her mother allowed her and her sisters to take watercolor lessons from a local artist. O’Keeffe’s early studies led her towards the mimetic realism that was the style of the day, but after an influential class, she began experimenting with abstraction and painting through emotion and sensation. Her work caught the eye of accomplished artist Alfred Stieglitz, who paid for her to move to NYC and begin working as an artist full-time.

Her NYC work focuses on up-close details of flowers as if seen through a magnifying glass, and paintings of skyscrapers and the skyline. Her flower paintings are sensual and abstract, with a gorgeous array of colors and textures. They’re full of layers, spirals, and curves, a celebration of tactility and the naturally diverse beauty of flowers. Many critics implied that her flowers were a visual metaphor for female genitalia, which O’Keeffe resolutely denied.

Buy The Not Just Dead White Guys Coloring Book featuring Georgia O’Keeffe!

Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe | Art by Kat Sampson

Georgia O’Keeffe

B. 1887
D. 1986

“Marks on paper are free — free speech — press — pictures all go together I suppose.”

In New York, O’Keeffe had eventually married Stieglitz, but when she caught him in an affair, she began to spend more and more time in New Mexico. The landscape and symbolism of New Mexico became an important motif in her work, and she eventually moved there permanently. The rolling hills and craggy rock formations that surrounded her home are near-constant motifs in her later work, as well as cattle skulls, sun-bleached bones, and rocks she collected in the desert.

She worked almost constantly until her death at 98, focusing on charcoal, pencil, and clay once her eyesight began to fail. Georgia O’Keeffe’s legacy is one of fierce independence, experimentation, and emotional candor.

Buy The Not Just Dead White Guys Coloring Book featuring Georgia O’Keeffe

artist

In collaboration with Kat Sampson, we present The Not Just Dead White Guys coloring book with 24 vibrant portraits, showcasing diverse artists, both deceased and living. Half are contemporary artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe who are shaping the art scene today, while the others are important historical figures. Join us to celebrate their diverse contributions and create a more inclusive art world!

 

 

Written by:
Wendy Bonham-Carter
Apr 03, 2024