3 Minute Art History Lesson: Georgia O’Keeffe


Georgia O’Keeffe is one of the most interesting artists of the 20th century. From flowers to cityscapes and everything in between, O’Keeffe managed to develop a style completely her own and thrive doing it. Her abstract work meant to translate her feelings into color, while her more representational work held hidden meanings and symbology.

O’Keeffe studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and Art Students League of New York where she was taught traditional realism techniques, however in 1912 her artistic approach changed dramatically with her interest in Arthur Wesley Dow, a 19th century painter and art educator.

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Yellow Hickory Leaves with Daisy, 1928; Oil on canvas; 30 1/10 × 40 in


Georgia O’Keeffe married photographer and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz in 1924, who was one of the first to display her work publicly. She was a strong female artist and is a role model to female artists and the feminist movement to this day. O’Keeffe’s most promising and well known work came from her time spent in New Mexico, where she first visited in 1929. She would go on to make this her permanent home in 1949, a few years after her husband’s death.

O’Keeffe was recognized as one of America’s (if not the world’s) leading modern artists during her time working, especially with her scenes of urban New York City. These scenes contrasted directly with her later New Mexico landscapes but proved to show an interesting juxtaposition on the American view. Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 12.29.41 PM

                                             City Night, 1926; Oil on canvas; 48 × 30 in; 121.9 × 76.2 cm

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                           Red Hills with Flowers, 1937; Oil on canvas; 20 × 25 in; 50.8 × 63.5 cm

O’Keeffe died at the age of 98, in Santa Fe, New Mexico on March 6th, 1986. She managed to continue painting until nearly 80 years old. Her failing eyesight forced her to enlist the help of assistants to create art with her near the end of her life. Her creativity and spirit however never diminished with age.


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