Georgia O'Keeffe

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O'Keeffe, Georgia

(ōkēf`), 1887–1986, American painter, b. Sun Prairie, Wis. After working briefly as a commercial artist in Chicago, O'Keeffe abandoned painting until she began the study of abstract design with A. W. Dow at Columbia Univ. Teachers College. Thereafter she taught art in Texas. Her work was first exhibited in 1916 at the 291 Gallery of Alfred StieglitzStieglitz, Alfred
, 1864–1946, American photographer, editor, and art exhibitor, b. Hoboken, N.J. The first art photographer in the United States, Stieglitz more than any other American compelled the recognition of photography as a fine art.
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, whom she married in 1924. Immaculate, sculptural, organic forms painted in strong, clear colors predominate in her works. Living much of her life in New Mexico, O'Keeffe employed numerous Southwestern motifs such as bleached bones, barren, rolling hills, clouds, and desert blooms. Cow's Skull, Red, White, and Blue (1931; Metropolitan Mus.) is characteristic. Her pristine abstract designs carry strong elements of sexual symbolism—especially her flower paintings, her most personal works. Using a photographic close-up technique, she revealed the exquisite recesses of calla lilies, orchids, and hollyhocks. Her later works are more purely abstract. O'Keeffe is represented in a Santa Fe museum devoted to her works and in major museums nationwide.

Bibliography

See her collected drawings (1968), and B. B. Lynes, ed., Georgia O'Keeffe: Catalogue Raisonné (2 vol., 1999); S. Greenough, ed., My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz (1 vol., 2011–); biographies by L. Lisle (1987), R. Robinson (1989), and H. Drohojowska-Philp (2004); J. Cowart et al., Georgia O'Keeffe: Art and Letters (1987); B. Haskell, ed., Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction (2009).

O'Keeffe, Georgia

(1887–1986) painter; born in Sun Prairie, Wis. By age 12 she was intent on being an artist. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (1904–08) and the Art Students League, New York (1907–08), then taught in Texas (1912–18). Alfred Stieglitz was the first to promote her work; they married (1924) but spent increasingly less time together. While based in New York, she became famous for flower paintings such as Black Iris (1926), and cityscapes such as Radiator Building—Night, New York (1927). New Mexico, which she visited from 1929 on and where she settled in 1946, inspired the paintings that made her later reputation—stark abstractions from nature, like Deer's Skull with Pedernal (1931).