Georgia O’Keeffe at 92

Sunday marked 25 years since the death of Georgia O’Keeffe, one of America’s foremost artists. The anniversary of her death coincides with the beginning of Women’s History Month. So we figured why not offer a little piece on her.

Born in 1887 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O’Keeffe grew up knowing she wanted to be an artist. Though she received training in academic art and won prizes for still life paintings, she left painting for a while to teach. But when a friend sent her experiments in charcoal to Alfred Stieglitz in New York (the two later married), he offered her her own show in his popular and avant garde Studio 291. This all happened in 1916, and she would not stop painting until her death in 1986, when she was 98 years old.

Known for her large scale and bold paintings of flowers and cityscapes, O’Keeffe found a permanent home in New Mexico where she painted the shapes of the desert from bones to adobe churches. She maintained a unique and independent spirit, as illustrated in this clip from a biography filmed when she was 92 years old. (See above.) The curator of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe sums up O’Keeffe’s lasting influence, stating “in 1970, when the Whitney Museum of American Art opened a retrospective exhibition of her work, she became the heroine of the feminist movement, thus positioning her in the limelight, which she had first enjoyed in the 1920s.  Whether or not artists working since then have liked or disliked her work, they acknowledge the fact that she established a place for women in an arena from which women had traditionally been excluded”…

For a quick introduction to O’Keeffe’s work, watch Smarthistory’s video intro to the 1929 painting, “The Lawrence Tree.” It gets that name because it was painted on D.H. Lawrence’s ranch.



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  1. Joe Chase says . . . | March 8, 2011 / 8:51 am

    Thank you for taking the time to remember Georgia O’Keeffe and her influence. Your recognition of her death 25 years ago is correct; your statement in the text indicates she died in 1982, which should be corrected to 1986.

  2. Dan Colman says . . . | March 8, 2011 / 9:10 am

    Thanks for catching that typo Joe. It’s fixed.

    Appreciate it!
    Dan

  3. Ani Hovhannisyan says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 8:14 pm

    hi! why can’t i watch the video? i’d love to see it. huge fan of georgia and stieglitz. please email me with the link if you can! mankxx@gmail.comnnnbest wishes,nnnani

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