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Artist/Naturalist Pages
Georgia O'Keeffe


1887 - 1986

Georgia O'Keeffe was born on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. From the 1920s through the 1970s she was an icon for her times. She modeled extensively for Alfred Steiglitz, the pioneer photographer she married. O'Keeffe's superb paintings brought new ideas into visual art:


Rancho Church

the extreme closeups of flowers expressing feminine sexuality, and the paintings of animal skulls and bones found in her adopted home in New Mexico deserts.


O'Keefe first saw New Mexico in 1929 and fell in love with the desert space and light that she called "the faraway." She lived and painted there from 1949 until she died in 1986.

O'Keefe's studio at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico
Gathering bones in the 1950s

In Her Own Words

My first memory is of the brightness of light... light all around!

In the eighth grade, she wrote "I am going to be an artist!"

I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could...I had to create an equivalent for what I felt about what I was looking at...not copy it. 

"Nobody sees a flower, really--it is so small--we haven't time, and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time."

I get out my work and have a show for myself before I show it publicly. I make up my own mind about it–how good or bad or indifferent it is. After that the critics can write what they please. I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.

This is the drawing of a headache. It was a very bad headache. Well, I had the headache, why not do something with it?'

 

Dark Mesa

Mule Deer Skull and Flowers

Petunia


Maple Leaves
Snapdragons
Blackplacegreen

Poppies
Jimsonweed
Dead Tree, Pink Hill


Georgia O'Keeffe's life stretched out through most of the twentieth century. She lived through several periods of artistic movements and epitomized one. Below she proves that while prettiness may be related to the calendar, beauty certainly is not.

1908
1915
1920
1923
1930s
1940s by Ansel Adams
1953
1962
1982

 

 

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