Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) was an American artist. She was best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes. O'Keeffe has been recognized as the "Mother of American modernism".[1][2]

In 1905, O'Keeffe began her serious formal art training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then the Art Students League of New York, but she felt constrained by her lessons that focused on recreating or copying what was in nature. In 1908, unable to fund further education, she worked for two years as a commercial illustrator, and then taught in Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina between 1911 and 1918. During that time, she studied art during the summers between 1912 and 1914 and was introduced to the principles and philosophies of Arthur Wesley Dow, who created works of art based upon personal style, design, and interpretation of subjects, rather than trying to copy or represent them. This caused a major change in the way she felt about and approached art, as seen in the beginning stages of her watercolors from her studies at the University of Virginia and more dramatically in the charcoal drawings that she produced in 1915 that led to total abstraction. Alfred Stieglitz, an art dealer and photographer, held an exhibit of her works in 1917.[3] Over the next couple of years, she taught and continued her studies at the Teachers College, Columbia University in 1914 and 1915.

She moved to New York in 1918 at Stieglitz's request and began working seriously as an artist. They developed a professional relationship and a personal relationship that led to their marriage in 1924. O'Keeffe created many forms of abstract art, including close-ups of flowers, such as the Red Canna paintings, that many found to represent women's genitalia,[4] although O'Keeffe consistently denied that intention. The reputation of the portrayal of women's sexuality was also fueled by explicit and sensuous photographs that Stieglitz had taken and exhibited of O'Keeffe.

O'Keeffe and Stieglitz lived together in New York until 1929, when O'Keeffe began spending part of the year in the Southwest, which served as inspiration for her paintings of New Mexico landscapes and images of animal skulls, such as Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue and Ram's Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills. After Stieglitz's death, she lived permanently in New Mexico at Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio in Abiquiú, until the last years of her life when she lived in Santa Fe. In 2014, O'Keeffe's 1932 painting Jimson Weed sold for $44,405,000, more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist. After her death, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum was established in Santa Fe.

Georgia O'Keeffe
Georgia O'Keeffe, 1918, photograph by Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia Totto O'Keeffe

November 15, 1887
DiedMarch 6, 1986 (aged 98)
EducationSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago
Columbia University
University of Virginia
Art Students League of New York
Known forPainting
MovementAmerican modernism, Precisionism
Alfred Stieglitz
(m. 1924; his death 1946)
AwardsNational Medal of Arts (1985)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977)
Edward MacDowell Medal (1972)

Early life

O'Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887,[2][5] in a farmhouse located at 2405 Hwy T in the town of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.[6][7] Her parents, Francis Calyxtus O'Keeffe and Ida (Totto) O'Keeffe, were dairy farmers. Her father was of Irish descent. Her maternal grandfather George Victor Totto, for whom O'Keeffe was named, was a Hungarian count who came to the United States in 1848.[2][8]

O'Keeffe was the second of seven children.[2] She attended Town Hall School in Sun Prairie.[9] By age 10, she had decided to become an artist,[10] and with her sisters, Ida and Anita,[11] she received art instruction from local watercolorist Sara Mann. O'Keeffe attended high school at Sacred Heart Academy in Madison, Wisconsin, as a boarder between 1901 and 1902. In late 1902, the O'Keeffes moved from Wisconsin to the close-knit neighborhood of Peacock Hill in Williamsburg, Virginia. The family apparently relocated to Virginia so O'Keeffe's father could start a business making rusticated cast concrete block in anticipation of a demand for the block in the Peninsula building trade, but the demand never materialized.[12] O'Keeffe stayed in Wisconsin with her aunt attending Madison Central High School[13] until joining her family in Virginia in 1903. She completed high school as a boarder at Chatham Episcopal Institute in Virginia (now Chatham Hall), and graduated in 1905.

O'Keeffe taught and headed the art department at West Texas State Normal College, was a member of the Kappa Delta sorority,[2][9] and watched over her youngest sibling, Claudia, at her mother's request.[14] In 1917, she visited her brother, Alexis, at a military camp in Texas before he shipped out for Europe during World War I. While there, she created the painting, The Flag,[15] which expressed her anxiety and depression about the war.[16]


Education and early career

Untitled, dead rabbit with the copper pot by O'Keeffe 1908
Georgia O'Keeffe, Untitled, 1908, Art Students League of New York collection

O'Keeffe studied and ranked at the top of her class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1905 to 1906, studying with John Vanderpoel.[2][10] Due to typhoid fever, she had to take a year off from her education.[2] In 1907, she attended the Art Students League in New York City, where she studied under William Merritt Chase, Kenyon Cox and F. Luis Mora.[2] In 1908, she won the League's William Merritt Chase still-life prize for her oil painting Dead Rabbit with Copper Pot. Her prize was a scholarship to attend the League's outdoor summer school in Lake George, New York.[2] While in the city, O'Keeffe visited galleries, such as 291, co-owned by her future husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The gallery promoted the work of avant-garde artists from the United States and Europe and photographers.[2]

In 1908, O'Keeffe found out that she would not be able to finance her studies. Her father had gone bankrupt and her mother was seriously ill with tuberculosis.[2] She also was not interested in creating a career as a painter based upon the mimetic tradition which had formed the basis of her art training.[10] She took a job in Chicago as a commercial artist and worked there until 1910, when she returned to Virginia to recuperate from a case of the measles[17] and later moved with her family to Charlottesville.[2] She did not paint for four years, and said that the smell of turpentine made her ill.[10] She began teaching art in 1911. One of her positions was her former school, Chatham Episcopal Institute in Virginia.[2][18]

Rotunda at the University of Virginia 1914 by Georgia O’Keeffe
Georgia O'Keeffe, Untitled, The Rotunda at University of Virginia, 1912–14, watercolor on paper, 11 7/8 × 9 in. (30.16 × 22.86 cm)

She took a summer art class in 1912 at the University of Virginia from Alon Bement, who was a Columbia University Teachers College faculty member. Under Bement, she learned of innovative ideas of Arthur Wesley Dow, a colleague of her instructor. Dow's approach was influenced by principles of Japanese art regarding design and composition. She began to experiment with abstract compositions and develop a personal style that veered away from realism.[2][10] From 1912 to 1914, she taught art in the public schools in Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle, and was a teaching assistant to Bement during the summers.[2]She took classes at the University of Virginia for two more summers.[19] She also took a class in the spring of 1914 at Teachers College of Columbia University with Dow, who further influenced her thinking about the process of making art.[20] Her studies at the University of Virginia, based upon Dow's principles, were pivotal in O'Keeffe's development as an artist. Through her exploration and growth as an artist, she helped to establish the American modernism movement.

Drawing XIII by Georgia O'Keeffe 1915
Georgia O'Keeffe, Drawing XIII, 1915, Charcoal on paper, Metropolitan Museum of Art

She taught at Columbia College, Columbia, South Carolina in late 1915, where she completed a series of highly innovative charcoal abstractions,[10] based on her personal sensations.[18] In early 1916, O'Keeffe was in New York at Teachers College, Columbia University. O'Keeffe mailed the charcoal drawings to a friend and former classmate at Teachers College, Anita Pollitzer, who took them to Alfred Stieglitz at his 291 gallery early in 1916.[21] Stieglitz found them to be the "purest, finest, sincerest things that had entered 291 in a long while", and said that he would like to show them. In April that year, Stieglitz exhibited ten of her drawings at 291.[2][10]

Georgia O'Keeffe UVa
Georgia O'Keeffe as a teaching assistant to Alon Bement at the University of Virginia in 1915

After further course work at Columbia in early 1916 and summer teaching for Bement,[2] she was the chair of the art department beginning the fall of 1916 at the West Texas State Normal College, in Canyon.[22] She began a series of watercolor paintings based upon the scenery and expansive views during her walks,[18][23] including vibrant paintings she made of Palo Duro Canyon.[24] O'Keeffe, who enjoyed sunrises and sunsets, developed a fondness for intense and nocturnal colors. Building upon a practice she began in South Carolina, O'Keeffe painted to express her most private sensations and feelings. Rather than sketching out a design before painting, she freely created designs. O'Keeffe continued to experiment until she believed she truly captured her feelings in the watercolor, Light Coming on the Plains No. I (1917).[18] She "captured a monumental landscape in this simple configuration, fusing blue and green pigments in almost indistinct tonal graduations that simulate the pulsating effect of light on the horizon of the Texas Panhandle," according to author Sharyn Rohlfsen Udall.[18][23]

New York

Stieglitz, more than twenty years older than O'Keeffe, provided financial support and arranged for a residence and place for her to paint in New York in 1918. They developed a close personal relationship while he promoted her work.[2] She came to know the many early American modernists who were part of Stieglitz's circle of artists, including Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Paul Strand, and Edward Steichen. Strand's photography, as well as that of Stieglitz and his many photographer friends, inspired O'Keeffe's work. Also around this time, O'Keeffe became sick during the 1918 flu pandemic.[25]

Blue and Green Music, 1921, oil on canvas

O'Keeffe began creating simplified images of natural things, such as leaves, flowers, and rocks.[26] Inspired by Precisionism, The Green Apple, completed in 1922, depicts her notion of simple, meaningful life.[27] O'Keeffe said that year, "it is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things."[27] Blue and Green Music expresses O'Keeffe's feelings about music through visual art, using bold and subtle colors.[28]

O'Keeffe, most famous for her depiction of flowers, made about 200 flower paintings,[29] which by the mid-1920s were large-scale depictions of flowers, as if seen through a magnifying lens, such as Oriental Poppies[30][31] and several Red Canna paintings.[32] She painted her first large-scale flower painting, Petunia, No. 2, in 1924 that was first exhibited in 1925.[2] Making magnified depictions of objects created a sense of awe and emotional intensity.[26] On November 20, 2014, O'Keeffe's Jimson Weed (1932) sold for $44,405,000, more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist.[33]

Art historian Linda Nochlin interpreted Black Iris III (1926) as a morphological metaphor for female genitalia.[34][35]

After having moved into a 30th floor apartment in the Shelton Hotel in 1925, O'Keeffe began a series of paintings of the city skyscrapers and skyline.[36] One of her most notable works, which demonstrates her skill at depicting the buildings in the Precisionist style, is the Radiator Building—Night, New York.[37][38] Other examples New York Street with Moon (1925),[39] The Shelton with Sunspots, N.Y. (1926),[40] and City Night (1926).[2] She made a cityscape, East River from the Thirtieth Story of the Shelton Hotel in 1928, a dismal painting of her view of the East River and smoke-emitting factories in Queens.[36] The next year she made her final New York City skyline and skyscraper paintings and traveled to New Mexico, which became a source of inspiration for her work.[37]

In 1924, Stieglitz arranged an simultaneous exhibit of O'Keeffe's works of arts and his photographs at Anderson Galleries and arranged for other major exhibits.[41] The Brooklyn Museum held a retrospective of her work in 1927.[21] In 1928, he announced to the press that six of her calla lily paintings sold to an anonymous buyer in France for US$25,000, but there is no evidence that this transaction occurred the way Stieglitz reported. However, due to the press, O'Keeffe's paintings sold at a higher price from that point forward.[42][43] By the late twenties she was noted for her work as an American artist, particularly for the paintings of New York city skyscrapers and close-up paintings of flowers.[41]


O'Keeffe traveled to New Mexico by 1929 with her friend Rebecca Strand and stayed in Taos at the home of Mabel Dodge Luhan, who provided the women with studios.[44] O'Keeffe went on many pack trips, exploring the rugged mountains and deserts of the region that summer and later visited the nearby D. H. Lawrence Ranch,[44] where she completed her now famous oil painting, The Lawrence Tree, currently owned by the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut.[45] O'Keeffe visited and painted the nearby historical San Francisco de Asis Mission Church at Ranchos de Taos. She made several paintings of the church, as had many artists, and her painting of a fragment of it silhouetted against the sky captured it from a unique perspective.[46][47]

New Mexico and New York

O'Keeffe Georgia Ram's Head
Georgia O'Keeffe, Ram's Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills, 1935, The Brooklyn Museum

O'Keeffe then spent part of nearly every year working in New Mexico. She collected rocks and bones from the desert floor and made them and the distinctive architectural and landscape forms of the area subjects in her work.[26] Known as a loner, O'Keeffe explored the land she loved often in her Ford Model A, which she purchased and learned to drive in 1929. She often talked about her fondness for Ghost Ranch and Northern New Mexico, as in 1943, when she explained: "Such a beautiful, untouched lonely feeling place, such a fine part of what I call the 'Faraway'. It is a place I have painted before ... even now I must do it again."[47]

Due to exhaustion and poor health, she did not work from late 1932 until about the mid-1930s.[47] She was a popular and reputed artist, receiving a number of commissions while her works were being exhibited in New York and other places.[48] In 1936, she completed what would become one of her most well-known paintings, Summer Days, in 1936. It depicted a desert scene with a deer skull with vibrant wildflowers. Resembling Ram's Head with Hollyhock, it depicted the skull floating above the horizon.[48][49]

O'keeffe - 'Pineapple Bud', 1939,
Pineapple Bud, 1939, oil on canvas

In 1938, the advertising agency N. W. Ayer & Son approached O'Keeffe about creating two paintings for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now Dole Food Company) to use in their advertising.[50][51][52] Other artists who produced paintings of Hawaii for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company's advertising include Lloyd Sexton, Jr., Millard Sheets, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Isamu Noguchi, and Miguel Covarrubias.[53] The offer came at a critical time in O'Keeffe's life: she was 51, and her career seemed to be stalling (critics were calling her focus on New Mexico limited, and branding her desert images "a kind of mass production").[54] She arrived in Honolulu February 8, 1939 aboard the SS Lurline, and spent nine weeks in Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the island of Hawaii. By far the most productive and vivid period was on Maui, where she was given complete freedom to explore and paint.[54] She painted flowers, landscapes, and traditional Hawaiian fishhooks. Back in New York, O'Keeffe completed a series of 20 sensual, verdant paintings. However, she did not paint the requested pineapple until the Hawaiian Pineapple Company sent a plant to her New York studio.[55]

Plaza Blanca cliffs, NM
O'Keeffe's "White Place," the Plaza Blanca cliffs and badlands near Abiquiú

During the 1940s O'Keeffe had two one-woman retrospectives, the first at the Art Institute of Chicago (1943).[26] Her second was in 1946, when she was the first woman artist to have a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan.[29] Whitney Museum of American Art began an effort to create the first catalogue of her work in the mid-1940s.[48]

In the 1940s, O'Keeffe made an extensive series of paintings of what is called the "Black Place", about 150 miles west of her Ghost Ranch house.[56] O'Keeffe said that the Black Place resembled "a mile of elephants with gray hills and white sand at their feet."[47] She made paintings of the "White Place", a white rock formation located near her Abiquiú house.[57]


External images
Sky Above the Clouds IV, 1965, oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago.
Waterfall - End of Road - 'Iao Valley, 1939, oil on canvas, Honolulu Museum of Art.

In 1946 she began making the architectural forms of her Abiquiú house—patio wall and door—subjects in her work.[58] Another distinctive painting was Ladder to the Moon, 1958.[59] O'Keeffe produced a series of cloudscape art, such as Sky above the Clouds in the mid-1960s that were inspired by her views from airplane windows.[26]

Worcester Art Museum held a retrospective of her work in 1960[21] and ten years later, the Whitney Museum of American Art mounted the Georgia O'Keeffe Retrospective Exhibition.[41]

In 1972, O'Keeffe lost much of her eyesight due to macular degeneration, leaving her with only peripheral vision. She stopped oil painting without assistance in 1972.[60] In the 1970s, she made a series of works in watercolor.[61] Her autobiography, Georgia O'Keeffe, published in 1976 was a best seller.[41]

Judy Chicago gave O'Keeffe a prominent place in her The Dinner Party (1979) in recognition of what many prominent feminist artists considered groundbreaking introduction of sensual and feminist imagery in her works of art.[62] Although feminists celebrated O'Keeffe as the originator of "female iconography",[63] O'Keeffe refused to join the feminist art movement or cooperate with any all-women projects.[64] She disliked being called a "woman artist" and wanted to be considered an "artist".[65]

She continued working in pencil and charcoal until 1984.[60]

Awards and honors

O'Keeffe was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters[21] and in 1966 was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[66] Among her awards and honors, O'Keeffe received the M. Carey Thomas Award at Bryn Mawr College in 1971 and two years later received an honorary degree from Harvard University.[21]

In 1977, President Gerald Ford presented O'Keeffe with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor awarded to American civilians.[67] In 1985, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Ronald Reagan.[41] In 1993, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[68]

Personal life and death


In June 1918, O'Keeffe accepted Stieglitz's invitation to move to New York and accept his financial support. Stieglitz, who was married, moved in with her in July.[26][41]

Alfred Stieglitz - Georgia O'Keeffe - Google Art Project
Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, platinum print, 1920

In February 1921, Stieglitz's photographs of O'Keeffe were included in a retrospective exhibition at the Anderson Galleries. Stieglitz started photographing O'Keeffe when she visited him in New York City to see her 1917 exhibition, and continued taking photographs, many of which were in the nude. It created a public sensation. When he retired from photography in 1937, he had made more than 350 portraits of her.[26][69] In 1978, she wrote about how distant from them she had become, "When I look over the photographs Stieglitz took of me—some of them more than sixty years ago—I wonder who that person is. It is as if in my one life I have lived many lives."[70]

In 1924, Stieglitz was divorced from his wife Emmeline, and he married O'Keeffe.[41] For the rest of their lives together, their relationship was, "a collusion... a system of deals and trade-offs, tacitly agreed to and carried out, for the most part, without the exchange of a word. Preferring avoidance to confrontation on most issues, O'Keeffe was the principal agent of collusion in their union," according to biographer Benita Eisler.[71] They primarily lived in New York City, but spent their summers at his family home, Oaklawn, in Lake George in upstate New York.[41]

OKeeffe-My Shanty
My Shanty, Lake George, 1922, oil on canvas, 20 × 27 1/8 in., The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Mental health

In 1928, Stieglitz had an affair with Dorothy Norman and O'Keeffe lost a project to create a mural for Radio City Music Hall. She was then hospitalized for depression.[26] O'Keeffe began to spend the summers painting in New Mexico in 1929.[41] She travelled by train with her friend Rebecca Strand to Taos, where Mabel Dodge Luhan moved them into her house and provided them with studios.[44]


In 1933, O'Keeffe was hospitalized for two months after having suffered a nervous breakdown, largely because she was heartbroken over Stieglitz's continuing affair with Dorothy Norman.[72] She did not paint again until January 1934. In early 1933 and 1934, O'Keeffe recuperated in Bermuda, and she returned to New Mexico in mid-1934. That August she visited Ghost Ranch, north of Abiquiú for the first time, and decided immediately to live there; in 1940, she moved into a house on the ranch property. The varicolored cliffs of Ghost Ranch inspired some of her most famous landscapes. In 1977, O'Keeffe wrote: "[the] cliffs over there are almost painted for you—you think—until you try to paint them."[47] Among guests to visit her at the ranch over the years were Charles and Anne Lindbergh, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, poet Allen Ginsberg, and photographer Ansel Adams.[73] She traveled and camped at "Black Place" often with her friend, Maria Chabot, and later with Eliot Porter.[47][56]

Pedernal Mountain, NM
Cerro Pedernal, viewed from Ghost Ranch. This was a favorite subject for O'Keeffe, who once said, "It's my private mountain. It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it"[74][75]

New beginning

In 1945, O'Keeffe bought a second house, an abandoned hacienda in Abiquiú, which she renovated into a home and studio.[76] Shortly after O'Keeffe arrived for the summer in New Mexico in 1946, Stieglitz suffered a cerebral thrombosis. She immediately flew to New York to be with him. He died on July 13, 1946. She buried his ashes at Lake George.[77] She spent the next three years mostly in New York settling his estate,[26] and moved permanently to New Mexico in 1949, spending time at both Ghost Ranch and the Abiquiú house that she made into her studio.[26][41]

Todd Webb, a photographer she met in the 1940s, moved to New Mexico in 1961. He often made photographs of her, as did numerous other important American photographers, who consistently presented O'Keeffe as a "loner, a severe figure and self-made person."[78] While O'Keeffe was known to have a "prickly personality", Webb's photographs portray her with a kind of "quietness and calm" suggesting a relaxed friendship, and revealing new contours of O'Keeffe's character.[79]


O'Keeffe enjoyed traveling to Europe, and then around the world, beginning in the 1950s. Several times she took rafting trips down the Colorado River,[21] including a trip down the Glen Canyon, Utah, area in 1961 with Webb and photographer Eliot Porter.[47]

Career end/death

In 1973, she hired 27-year-old John Bruce (Juan) Hamilton, a potter, as a live-in assistant and then a caretaker. Hamilton taught O'Keeffe to work with clay and helped her write her autobiography. He worked for her for 13 years.[26] O'Keeffe became increasingly frail in her late 90s. She moved to Santa Fe in 1984, where she died on March 6, 1986 at the age of 98.[80] Her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered, as she wished, on the land around Ghost Ranch.[81]

Legal issues

Following O'Keeffe's death, her family contested her will because codicils made to it in the 1980s had left most of her $76 million estate to Hamilton. The case was ultimately settled out of court in July 1987.[81][82] The case became famous as a precedent in estate planning.[83][84]


Georgia O'Keeffe, Untitled, vase of flowers, 1903 to 1905

O'Keeffe, Untitled - vase of flowers, 1903-05, watercolor on paper, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Georgia O'Keeffe Red Canna 1915 Yale University Art Gallery

O'Keeffe, Red Canna, 1915, watercolor on paper, 49.2 cm × 33.0 cm, Yale University Art Gallery

Drawing No. 2 by Georgia O'Keeffe 1915 NGA

O'Keeffe, Drawing No. 2 - Special, 1915, charcoal on laid paper, 60 x 46.3 cm, National Gallery of Art

Brooklyn Museum - Blue 1 - Georgia O'Keeffe

O'Keeffe, Blue #1, 1916, watercolor and graphite on paper, Brooklyn Museum

Georgia O'Keeffe, Sunrise, watercolor, 1916

O'Keeffe, Sunrise', 1916, watercolor on paper

Georgia O'Keefe, No. 8 Special, 1916

O'Keeffe, No. 8 - Special, 1916, Whitney Museum of Art

Georgia O'Keeffe, Light Coming on the Plains No. II, 1917, CMAA

O'Keeffe, Light Coming on the Plains No. II, 1917, watercolor on newsprint paper, 11 7/8 x 8 7/8 inches, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Georgia O'Keeffe, Series 1, No. 8

O'Keeffe, Series 1, No. 8, 1918, oil-painting on canvas, 50.8 × 40.6 cm, Lenbachhaus, Munich

Georgia O'Keeffe Red Canna 1919 HMA

O'Keeffe, Red Canna, 1919, oil on board, High Museum of Art, Atlanta

A Storm DT1394

O'Keeffe, A Storm, 1922, pastel on paper, mounted on illustration board, 46.4 x 61.9 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art


External video
Georgia O'Keeffe
Life and Artwork of Georgia O'Keeffe, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum (11:00), C-SPAN[1]

O'Keeffe was a legend beginning in the 1920s, known as much for her independent spirit and female role model as for her dramatic and innovative works of art.[81] Nancy and Jules Heller said, "The most remarkable thing about O'Keefe was the audacity and uniqueness of her early work." At that time, even in Europe, there were few arts exploring abstraction. Even though her works may show elements of different modernist movements, such as Surrealism and Precisionism, her work is uniquely her own style.[85] She received unprecedented acceptance as a woman artist from the fine art world due to her powerful graphic images and within a decade of moving to New York City, she was the highest paid American woman artist.[86] She was known for a distinctive style in all aspects of her life.[87] O'Keeffe was also known for her relationship with Stieglitz, in which she provided some insight in her autobiography.[81]The Georgia O'Keeffe museum says that she was one of the first American artists to practice pure abstraction.[2]

A substantial part of her estate's assets were transferred to the Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation, a nonprofit. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum opened in Santa Fe in 1997.[81] The assets included a large body of her work, photographs, archival materials, and her Abiquiú house, library, and property. The Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio in Abiquiú was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, and is now owned by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.[76]

In 1996, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 32-cent stamp honoring O'Keeffe.[88] In 2013, on the 100th anniversary of the Armory Show, the USPS issued a stamp featuring O'Keeffe's Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Marie's II, 1930 as part of their Modern Art in America series.[89]

A fossilized species of archosaur was named Effigia okeeffeae ("O'Keeffe's Ghost") in January 2006, "in honor of Georgia O'Keeffe for her numerous paintings of the badlands at Ghost Ranch and her interest in the Coelophysis Quarry when it was discovered".[90]

In November 2016, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum recognized the importance of her time in Charlottesville by dedicating an exhibition, using watercolors that she had created over three summers. It was entitled, O'Keeffe at the University of Virginia, 1912–1914.[19]

O'Keeffe holds the record ($44.4 million in 2014) for the highest price paid for a painting by a woman.[91]


  • O'Keeffe, Georgia (1976). Georgia O'Keeffe. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 978-0-670-33710-1.
  • O'Keeffe, Georgia (1988). Some Memories of Drawings. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-1113-9.
  • Giboire, Clive, ed. (1990). Lovingly, Georgia: The Complete Correspondence of Georgia O'Keeffe & Anita Pollitzer. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-69236-0.
  • Greenough, Sarah, ed. (2011). My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Volume One, 1915-1933 (Annotated ed.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-16630-9.
  • Buhler Lynes, Barbara (2012). Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Houses: Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 9781419703942.
  • Winter, Jeanette (1998). My Name is Georgia: A Portrait. San Diego, New York, London: First Voyager Books. ISBN 0-15-201649-X.

Popular culture

In 1991, the PBS aired the American Playhouse production A Marriage: Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, starring Jane Alexander as O'Keeffe and Christopher Plummer as Alfred Stieglitz.[92]

Lifetime Television produced a biopic of Georgia O'Keeffe starring Joan Allen as O'Keeffe, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Stieglitz, Henry Simmons as Jean Toomer, Ed Begley Jr. as Stieglitz's brother Lee, and Tyne Daly as Mabel Dodge Luhan. It premiered on September 19, 2009.[93][94]


  1. ^ a b "Life and Artwork of Georgia O'Keeffe". C-SPAN. January 9, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Editors (August 26, 2016). "Georgia O'Keeffe". Biography Channel. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved January 14, 2017.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Christiane., Weidemann, (2008). 50 women artists you should know. Larass, Petra., Klier, Melanie, 1970-. Munich: Prestel. ISBN 9783791339566. OCLC 195744889.
  4. ^ "An unabashedly sensual approach to a genteel genre". Newsweek. 110: 74–75. November 9, 1987 – via Readers' Guide Abstracts.
  5. ^ "Birth Record Details". Wisconsin Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
  6. ^ "Birthplace of Georgia O'Keeffe". Sun Prairie, WI. Archived from the original on July 29, 2016.
  7. ^ Wisconsin Legislature. 2013-14 Wisconsin Statutes 2013-14 S.84.1021 Georgia O'Keeffe Memorial Highway.
  8. ^ Robinson, Roxana (1999), Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life, UPNE, p. 6, ISBN 0-87451-906-3
  9. ^ a b Nancy Hopkins Reily (August 2007). Georgia O'keeffe, a Private Friendship: Walking the Sun Prairie Land. Sunstone Press. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-86534-451-8.
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  51. ^ Jennings, Patricia & Maria Ausherman, Georgia O'Keeffe's Hawai'i, Koa Books, Kihei, Hawaii, 2011, p. 3
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  54. ^ a b Tony Perrottet (November 30, 2012), O'Keeffe's Hawaii New York Times.
  55. ^ Severson, Don R. (2002), Finding Paradise: Island Art in Private Collections, University of Hawaii Press, p. 128
  56. ^ a b Porter's photograph, Eroded Clay and Rock Flakes, Black Place, New Mexico, July 20, 1953, on, in the Amon Carter Museum Eliot Porter Collection Retrieved 16 June 2010
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  67. ^ The National First Ladies Library (November 16, 2010). Heroes of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (PDF). Canton Ohio. p. 3. Retrieved February 11, 2011. Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986)...Presidential Medal of Freedom received January 10, 1977
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  73. ^ Jonathan Stewart (June 28, 2014). Walking Away From The Land: Change At The Crest Of A Continent. Xlibris Corporation. p. 319. ISBN 978-1-4931-8090-5.
  74. ^ Abrams, Dennis. O'Keeffe, Georgia. 2009. Georgia O'Keeffe. Infobase Publishing, p. 97
  75. ^ A similar remark is registered in "Her Story and Her Work" Archived 2011-10-29 at the Wayback Machine by Bill Long, 6/29/07.: "I painted it often enough thinking that, if I did so, God would give it to me."
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  78. ^ Kilian, Michael (August 1, 2002). "Santa Fe exhibit paints a different picture of O'Keeffe". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-10. ... her place, through the eyes and lens of her close and longtime friend, photographer Todd Webb (1905-2000), who produced a glorious collection of photos of her and her surroundings at her Ghost Ranch and Abiquiú houses between 1955 and 1981.
  79. ^ Zimmer, William (December 31, 2000). "ART; Exploring the Affinities Among Painting, Music and Dance". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-10. O'Keeffe's prickly personality is legendary, but with Webb she displays the kind of quietness and calm she wanted to embody.
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  86. ^ Hunter Drohojowska-Philp (November 17, 2005). Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe. W. W. Norton. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-0-393-32741-0.
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  91. ^ "The Most Expensive Female Artists 2016 - artnet News". artnet News. 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
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  93. ^ "Georgia O'Keeffe". Lifetime Television's. Archived from the original on August 30, 2009.
  94. ^ Vincent Terrace (September 3, 2010). The Year in Television, 2009: A Catalog of New and Continuing Series, Miniseries, Specials and TV Movies. McFarland. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-7864-5644-4.

Further reading

  • Eldredge, Charles C. (1991). Georgia O'Keeffe. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8109-3657-7.
  • Haskell, Barbara, ed. (2009). Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction. Whitney Museum of American Art. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-14817-6.
  • Hogrefe, Jeffrey (1994). O'Keeffe, The Life of an American Legend. New York: Bantam. ISBN 978-0-553-56545-4.
  • Lisle, Laurie (1986). Portrait of an Artist. New York: Washington Square Press. ISBN 978-0-671-60040-2.
  • Lynes, Barbara Buhler (1999). Georgia O'Keeffe: Catalogue Raisonné. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art. ISBN 978-0-300-08176-3.
  • Lynes, Barbara Buhler; Poling-Kempes, Lesley; Turner, Frederick W. (2004). Georgia O'Keeffe and New Mexico: A Sense of Place (3rd ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-11659-4.
  • Lynes, Barbara Buhler (2007). Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Collections. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-0-8109-0957-1.
  • Lynes, Barbara Buhler; Phillips, Sandra S. (2008). Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-11832-3.
  • Lynes, Barbara Buhler; Weinberg, Jonathan, eds. (2011). Shared Intelligence: American Painting and The Photograph. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-26906-4.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  • Lynes, Barbara Buhler (2012). Georgia O'Keeffe: Life & Work. Skira. ISBN 978-88-572-1232-6.
  • Merrill, C. S. (2010). Weekends with O'Keeffe. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-4928-6.
  • Messinger, Lisa Mintz (2001). Georgia O'Keeffe. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-20340-7.
  • Montgomery, Elizabeth (1993). Georgia O'Keeffe. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 978-0-88029-951-0.
  • Orford, Emily-Jane Hills (2008). The Creative Spirit: Stories of 20th Century Artists. Ottawa: Baico Publishing. ISBN 978-1-897449-18-9.
  • Patten, Christine Taylor; Cardona-Hine, Alvaro (1992). Miss O'Keeffe. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0826313225.
  • Peters, Sarah W. (1991). Becoming O'Keeffe. New York: Abbeville Press. ISBN 978-1-55859-362-6.

External links

A Storm

A Storm, a 1922 pastel painting by Georgia O'Keeffe, shows lightning over a lake and the reflection of the moon, while alluding to a feminine body shape. The medium is pastel on paper, mounted on illustration board. The painting is part of a collection of work depicting sea- and landscapes of Maine or Lake George, and were created by O'Keeffe between 1921 and 1922. The technique and style of A Storm reflects O'Keeffe's earlier preference for charcoal as a medium. It was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by a private collector in 1981.

Abiquiú, New Mexico

Abiquiú (or Abiquiu (listen)) is a small census-designated place located in Rio Arriba County, in northern New Mexico in the southwestern United States, about 53 miles (85 km) north of Santa Fe.

Abiquiu has an elementary school which is part of the Espanola Public Schools.

Abiquiú means "wild choke cherry place" in the Tewa language. The community is also called Santo Tomas de Abiquiú and the Pueblo of Santo Tomas de Abiquiú. Abiquiù was the one of the homes of artist Georgia O'Keeffe from 1929 until 1984. The Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio is in Abiquiú and she also owned property at the nearly Ghost Ranch. Many of her paintings depict scenes near Abiquiú.

Black Iris (painting)

Black Iris, sometimes called Black Iris III, is a 1926 oil painting by Georgia O'Keeffe. Art historian Linda Nochlin interpreted Black Iris as a morphological metaphor for female genitalia. O'Keeffe rejected such interpretations in a 1939 text accompanying an exhibition of her work by writing: "Well—I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower—and I don't." She attempted to do away with sexualized readings of her work by adding a lot of detail.It was first exhibited at the Intimate Gallery, New York from January 11–February 27, 1927, where it was catalogued as DARK IRIS NO. 3. Unlike her previous shows, this show was largely devoid of the colourful paintings for which she had received critical acclaim. Lewis Mumford commented: "Yesterday O'Keeffe's exhibition opened … the show is strong: one long, loud blast of sex, sex in youth, sex in adolescence, sex in maturity, sex as gaudy as "Ten Nights in a Whorehouse," and sex as pure as the vigils of the vestal virgins, sex bulging, sex tumescent, sex deflated. After this description you'd better not visit the show: inevitably you'll be a little disappointed. For perhaps only half the sex is on the walls; the rest is probably in me." The painting remained in the collection of the artist from 1926 to 1969. It was on extended loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1949 to 1969, when it was donated as part of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The title changed in 1991 from Black Iris III to Black Iris.

Blue (O'Keeffe series)

Blue is the name of four paintings that Georgia O'Keeffe made in 1916. It was one of the sets of watercolors that she made exploring a monochromatic palette with designs that were non-representational of specific objects. The paintings were made on 15 7⁄8-by-11-inch (40.3 cm × 27.9 cm) sheets of Japanese tissue of the gampi tree.Blue No. 2 was made in Virginia before O'Keeffe moved to Texas. One opinion is that through Blue No. II, O'Keeffe expresses her personal experience with music. For instance, the shape is like the curves of the neck of the violin, which she was playing during the timeframe. She could also be suggesting emotion felt through music through the use of line and the intense blue color, perhaps influenced by Wassily Kandinsky. Another viewpoint is that it is similar to the lines in charcoal drawing No. 8 Special made in 1916.

Blue and Green Music

Blue and Green Music is a 1919–1921 painting by the American painter Georgia O'Keeffe.

Painted in her New York years upon the idea that music could be translated into something for the eye, Blue and Green Music is a work of rhythm, movement, color, depth, and form. It is also one of the paintings that was expressed by her feelings.

Charcoal drawings by Georgia O'Keeffe from 1915

Charcoal drawings by Georgia O'Keeffe from 1915 represents Georgia O'Keeffe's first major exploration of abstract art and attainment of a freedom to explore her artistic talents based upon what she felt and envisioned. O'Keeffe developed radical charcoal drawings, with just a few lines, that led to greater development of total abstraction. This series of works was completed following three summers of instruction at the University of Virginia on Arthur Wesley Dow's design philosophies, which were highly influential in her development as an abstract artist. Early the following year, photographer and art dealer, Alfred Stieglitz exhibited some of the drawings at his 291 art gallery.

Early works of Georgia O'Keeffe

The early works of American artist Georgia O'Keeffe are those made before she was introduced to the principles of Arthur Wesley Dow in 1912.

Flower paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe

The American artist Georgia O'Keeffe is best known for her close-up, or large-scale flower paintings, which she painted from the mid-1920s through the 1950s. She made about 200 paintings of flowers of the more than 2,000 paintings that she made over her career. One of her paintings, Jimson Weed, sold for $44.4 million, making it the most expensive painting sold of a female artist's work as of 2014.

Georgia O'Keeffe (2009 film)

Georgia O'Keeffe is a 2009 American television biographical film, produced by City Entertainment in association with Sony Television, about noted American painter Georgia O'Keeffe and her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The film was directed by Bob Balaban, executive-produced by Joshua D. Maurer, Alixandre Witlin and Joan Allen, and line-produced by Tony Mark. Shown on Lifetime Television, it starred Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons in lead roles.At the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards, the film received nine nominations, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Jeremy Irons and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for Joan Allen. The film was also nominated for three 2009 Golden Globe Awards, including Best Miniseries or Television Movie or Miniseries, as well as receiving nominations for director by the Directors Guild of America and a Producers Guild nomination for Producer of the Year award for Outstanding Television Movie or Miniseries, and a NAACP nomination for supporting actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries. The movie earned more total nominations than in the history of Lifetime Television combined, making it the most critically acclaimed film in Lifetime's history.

Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio

The Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio is a historic house museum at 12 Palvadera Drive in Abiquiú, New Mexico. It was from 1945 until 1984 the principal residence and studio of artist Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986). It is now owned and managed by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, through which guided tours can be arranged. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, as one of the most important artistic sites in the southwestern United States.

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is dedicated to the artistic legacy of Georgia O'Keeffe, her life, American modernism, and public engagement. It opened on July 17, 1997, eleven years after the artist's death, and is located at 217 Johnson Street in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States.

Ghost Ranch (composition)

Ghost Ranch is a three-movement orchestral composition by the American composer Michael Daugherty. Inspired by the life and work of artist Georgia O'Keeffe, the title is derived from the name of O'Keeffe's New Mexico summer home, Ghost Ranch. The piece was commissioned by BBC Radio 3, completed in 2005, and premiered February 8, 2006 in Poole, United Kingdom, with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Marin Alsop.

Jimson Weed (painting)

Jimson Weed is an oil on linen painting by American artist Georgia O'Keeffe from 1936, located in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. It depicts four large blossoms of jimson weed. A similar work by O'Keeffe, Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, was sold by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum at auction to Walmart heiress Alice Walton in 2014 for $44,405,000, more than tripling the previous world record for auction price of a piece by a female artist.

Light Coming on the Plains

Light Coming on the Plains is the name of three watercolor paintings made by Georgia O'Keeffe in 1917. They were made when O'Keeffe was teaching at West Texas State Normal College in Canyon, Texas. They reflect the evolution of her work towards pure abstraction, and an early American modernist landscape. It was unique for its time. Compared to Sunrise that she painted one year earlier, it was simpler and more abstract.

Striving to design harmonious paintings that are an interpretation of her feelings about the subject, she created a work of the Texas plains and wide open skies—and particularly the sunrises found there— that were wondrous to her. It has been called a radical work of art, and Light Coming on the Plains III is considered one of the best paintings of the skies by Laura Cumming of The Guardian.

My Shanty, Lake George

My Shanty, Lake George is a 1922 painting by Georgia O'Keeffe. From 1918 to 1934, Georgia O'Keeffe spent part of the year at Alfred Stieglitz's family estate in Lake George. The depicted shanty was O'Keeffe's studio, which was painted in subdued tones in response to criticism from Stieglitz' circle—Arthur Dove, John Marin, Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and Paul Strand. O'Keeffe said of the painting: "The clean, clear colors were in my head, but one day as I looked at the brown burned wood of the Shanty I thought, "I can paint one of those dismal-colored paintings like the men. I think just for fun I will try—all low-toned and dreary with the tree beside the door." My Shanty was the first painting by O'Keeffe purchased by the Duncan Phillips.

O'Keeffe at the University of Virginia, 1912–1914

O’Keeffe at the University of Virginia, 1912–1914 is an exhibition of watercolors that Georgia O'Keeffe created over three summers in the early 20th century at the University of Virginia. Shown at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the exhibit opened November 4, 2016 and ran through September 10, 2017. A year later, on October 19, 2018, the exhibition opened at the Fralin Museum of Art on the grounds of the University of Virginia, where it remained on display until January 27, 2019The works reflect her early development as an abstract artist, influenced by design principles of Arthur Wesley Dow. Through her exploration and growth as an artist, she helped to establish the American modernism movement and has been called the "Mother of American modernism".

Palo Duro Canyon paintings of O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe made a set of paintings of Palo Duro Canyon while working as a department head and art instructor at West Texas State Normal College. The vibrant paintings reflect her development as an Abstract Expressionist, influenced by Arthur Wesley Dow.

The Flag (O'Keeffe painting)

The Flag is a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe (1918), that represents her anxiety about her brother being sent to fight in Europe during World War I, a war that was particularly dangerous due to the uses of new and especially dangerous weapons and tactics, like mustard gas, naval mines, high-powered guns, and aerial combat. It was not displayed until 1968, in part because anti-war sentiment was criminalized with the Espionage Act of 1917. It is in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The Lawrence Tree

The Lawrence Tree is a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe in 1929 of a large ponderosa pine tree on the D. H. Lawrence Ranch in Taos County, New Mexico. The tree still survives (as of 2016), and may be visited at the Lawrence Ranch.

Georgia O'Keeffe
of works
Awards for Georgia O'Keeffe

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