GEORGIA O'KEEFFE

download.jpg

Georgia O’Keeffe attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then the Art Students League of New York, but she quickly tired of the typical art instruction she was receiving, which focused mostly on creating realistic looking copies of images seen in nature. When she discovered the work of Arthur Wesley Dow, she began exploring a more abstract, expressive style of painting.

In 1915, while teaching at Columbia College in South Carolina, she created a series of abstract charcoal drawings, and is believed to be one the first American artists to practice pure abstraction. She began experimenting with watercolor the following year, drawing most of her inspiration from textures and shapes found in nature. She focused on simplified images, saying, “it is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things."

Her work from the mid 1920s is often sexualized, her images of flowers compared to female genitalia, although she always denied that this was her intent. It is thought that people may have associated female sexuality with O’Keeffe’s work because of explicit photographs of her, that we taken and displayed by her husband, photographer and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz. 

The Brooklyn Museum exhibited a retrospective of her work in 1926 and by the late 1920s, she began receiving major recognition and high prices for her work. 

In 1929, Georgia and Alfred moved to New Mexico, whose landscape and natural features provided endless inspiration throughout the rest of her life. When speaking on her Ghost Ranch house in 1943, O’Keefe said “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.”

Although she was considered a feminist icon, O’Keeffe rejected the feminist art movement and avoided all-female projects as she wanted to be considered an “artist” and not a “woman artist.”

In 1946, she was the first woman to have a retrospective of her work displayed at MoMA in Manhattan. Her many awards and honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Arts, an honorary degree from Harvard University, elections to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. After her death she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum was established in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 2014, Georgia O’Keefe’s painting Jimson Weed sold for over 44 million dollars, over three times the highest price paid for the work of any female artist.

Clearly, Georgia O’Keeffe was a boss ass bitch. 

HAGS PodcastComment