Georgia O’Keeffe

‘Nothing is less real,’ the American modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe once said, ‘than realism.’ In the first decades of the 20th century, with Europe ablaze with artistic innovation, O’Keeffe developed her own, distinctly American form of modernism. Her extraordinary paintings of flowers, desert landscapes and sun-bleached bones have become iconic images of the American West. With the 2014 sale of her Jimson Weed, White Flower No. 1 (1936) for $44.4 million, O’Keeffe became the most highly valued female artist ever.

Born in Wisconsin in 1887, O’Keeffe attended the School of the Art Institute in Chicago before moving to New York in 1907 to train at the Art Students League. She worked as a commercial artist from 1908 and, in the early 1910s, became exposed to the works of European modernists like Picasso and Braque at the photographer Alfred Stieglitz’s New York gallery, 291.

Stieglitz became interested in O’Keeffe’s own work and exhibited a series of her abstract charcoals, including Special No. 9 (1915) at 291 in 1916, followed by a solo exhibition of her paintings in 1917.

O’Keeffe and Stieglitz married in 1924. By then, the abstraction of her early work had achieved a new and unique synthesis of the photographic techniques pioneered by Stieglitz and his circle, and her own painterly abstraction. With works such as Black Iris (1926) and Ranchos Church (1930), O’Keeffe had forged a new kind of abstracted realism — a forensic, photographic approach that, through close observation and the simplification of form to essentials, unearthed the abstract potential inherent in all nature’s multifarious forms.

After 1929, O’Keeffe began to summer near Taos, New Mexico. From the desert landscape and skies, its animal bones and flora, she created some of her finest works, such as Ram’s Head, Blue Morning Glory (1938) and Black Cross with Stars and Blue (1929).

By the 1940s, she had become widely recognised as one America’s most important painters, with retrospectives at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1943, and in 1946 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

New Mexico would remain synonymous with her work. After Stieglitz’s death in 1946, she settled permanently outside of Santa Fe, splitting her time between homes in Ghost Ranch and the village of Abiquiu. O’Keeffe died in 1986.

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (1887-1986)

White Rose with Larkspur No. I

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (1887-1986)

White Calico Rose

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Lake George Reflection

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (1887-1986)

Red Hills with Pedernal, White Clouds

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Near Abiquiu, New Mexico

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

The Red Maple at Lake George

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (1887-1986)

On the Old Santa Fe Road

乔治亚·欧姬芙 (1887-1986)

《来自粉色贝壳》

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (1887-1986)

Autumn Leaf with White Flower

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Red Hills with Pedernal, White Clouds

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Hills and Mesa to the West

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

The Barns, Lake George

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

East River with Sun

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Black Door with Snow

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

New Mexico--Near Taos

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (1887-1986)

Sand Hill, Alcalde

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Pink Spotted Lillies

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Two Calla Lilies

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (1887-1986)

Blue Morning Glory

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Sand Hill, Alcalde

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Canna Red and Orange

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Two Calla Lilies Together

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (1887-1986)

Lavender & Green Hill—Ghost Ranch

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Squash Blossom No. II

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Lake George in Woods

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Leaves Under Water

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Horn and Feather

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (1887-1986)

Abiquiu Trees VII

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Small Lavender and Grey Green Hill

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Ghost Ranch Cliff

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Pink Roses and Larkspur

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Beauford Delaney