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Artists Georgia O'Keeffe
Georgia O'Keeffe Photo

Georgia O'Keeffe

American Painter

Movements and Styles: American Modernist Painting, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: November 15, 1887 - near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Died: March 6, 1986 - Santa Fe, New Mexico

Georgia O'Keeffe Timeline

Quotes

"I said to myself 'I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me- shadows and ideas so near to me - so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn't occurred to me to put them down.' I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught."
Georgia O'Keeffe
"It is easier for me to paint it than to write about it and I would so much rather people would look at it than read about it. I see no reason for painting anything that can be put into any other form as well."
Georgia O'Keeffe
"Color is one of the great things in the world that makes life worth living to me and as I have come to think of painting it is my efforts to create an equivalent with paint color for the world, life as I see it."
Georgia O'Keeffe
"I have but one desire as a painter - that is to paint what I see, as I see it, in my own way, without regard for the desires or taste of the professional dealer or the professional collector. I attribute what little success I have to this fact. I wouldn't turn out stuff for order, and I couldn't. It would stifle any creative ability I possess."
Georgia O'Keeffe
"Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things."
Georgia O'Keeffe

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else."

Synopsis

Georgia O'Keeffe played a pivotal role in the development of American modernism and its relationship to European avante garde movements of the early-20th century. Producing a substantial body of work over seven decades, she sought to capture the emotion and power of objects through abstracting the natural world. Alfred Stieglitz identified her as the first female American modernist, whose paintings of flowers, barren landscapes, and close-up still lifes have become a part of the mythology and iconography of the American artistic landscape.

Key Ideas

O'Keeffe incorporated the techniques of other artists and was especially influenced by Paul Strand's use of cropping in his photographs; she was one of the first artists to adapt the method to painting by rendering close-ups of uniquely American objects that were highly detailed yet abstract.
O'Keeffe did not follow any specific artistic movement, but like Arthur Dove she experimented with abstracting motifs from nature. She worked in series, synthesizing abstraction and realism to produce works that emphasized the primary forms of nature. While some of these works are highly detailed, in others, she stripped away what she considered the inessential to focus on shape and color.
Through intense observation of nature, experimentation with scale, and nuanced use of line and color, O'Keeffe's art remained grounded in representation even while pushing at its limits. From the 1940s through the 1960s in particular, O'Keeffe's art was outside the mainstream as she was one of the few artists to adhere to representation in a period when others were exploring non-representation or had abandoned painting altogether.

Biography

Georgia O'Keeffe Photo

Childhood and Early Training

Georgia O'Keeffe was born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin in 1887, the second of seven children. She received early encouragement to study art from her mother and took watercolor lessons from a local artist, Sara Mann. O'Keeffe came from a family where female education was stressed and she was fortunate to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1905 to 1906 where she studied with John Vanderpoel.

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Georgia O'Keeffe Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Georgia O'Keeffe
Interactive chart with Georgia O'Keeffe's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Arthur Wesley DowArthur Wesley Dow
Alon BementAlon Bement
Auguste RodinAuguste Rodin
Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky

Personal Contacts

Charles SheelerCharles Sheeler
Alfred StieglitzAlfred Stieglitz
Paul StrandPaul Strand
Arthur DoveArthur Dove

Movements

PrecisionismPrecisionism
Asian ArtAsian Art
Art NouveauArt Nouveau
Modernism and Modern ArtModernism and Modern Art

Influences on Artist
Georgia O'Keeffe
Georgia O'Keeffe
Years Worked: 1907 - 1984
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Judy ChicagoJudy Chicago
Andy WarholAndy Warhol

Personal Contacts

Alfred StieglitzAlfred Stieglitz
Paul StrandPaul Strand
Arthur DoveArthur Dove

Movements

American Modernist PaintingAmerican Modernist Painting
PrecisionismPrecisionism
Feminist ArtFeminist Art

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