Georgia O'Keeffe

Dark Mesa and Pink Sky

Music to accompany this page:
The Rose, by Bette Midler


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During the early twenties Georgia also began the first of her corn paintings, Dark Corn,Dark Corn 1 which would come to represent early O'Keeffe. These studies appeared to be painted from her love for the strength and rich, deep hues of green she remembered from her childhood in Wisconsin.

In 1924, Stieglitz took a hundred of the oil, watercolor and pastel paintings and drawings that Georgia had been working on since her return to New York, and exhibited them at the Anderson Galleries. Over five hundred people visited the exhibit daily, yet the critics were not as enthralled with Georgia's work. An exception to the crowd was Henry McBride, an art critic for the New York Sun. Petunia and ColeusHe hailed her bravery to paint as the subject felt and seemed to her. "She is interested but not frightened at what you will say, and in what I do not say. It represents a great stride, particularly for the American."

Georgia O'Keeffe had another showing at the Anderson Galleries in the spring of 1924. The collection of fifty-one paintings included many of her first big flowers, such as Petunia and Coleus, and was well received. The exhibit ran parallel to an exhibit of Stieglitz photographs there were being shown at the same gallery. Georgia felt Radiator Building - Night, New Yorkas if Stieglitz was now a definite part of her life, and in December they were married. They moved to the Shelton Hotel, living in an apartment on the 30th floor. It was from here that Georgia began to paint the city with paintings such as Radiator Building - Night, New York.

The demand for O'Keefe exhibits was increasing, and Georgia required more stimulus. Friends told her of their visits to the west, and Georgia was anxious to view it herself. Alfred detested traveling and opted to stay in New York as Georgia went on a trip to Taos, New Mexico, with a friend.

While in Taos Georgia visited the historical mission church at Ranchos de Taos to paint Ranchos Church 1.Ranchos Church 1Although she painted the church as many artists had done before, her painting of only a fragment of the mission with it's simple lines and the beauty of its adobe defined against the clear blue sky, offered a fresh portrayal of the church unlike any artist had painted before.

O'Keeffe continued to paint the Big Flowers, but they took on a different feeling.Yellow Cactus FlowersGeorgia had developed a great admiration for the dessert flowers, marveling in how something so delicate could push through the hard ground. One of the first flowers she painted upon arriving in Taos was Yellow Cactus Flowers. The colors, while still vibrant, had mellowed a degree. Georgia found the thin, dry air enabled her to see farther. She adopted the name "the faraway" for the land of northern New Mexico - a place of stark beauty and infinite space.

Georgia returned to New York at the end of summer, with cratefuls of paintings. Stieglitz was intensely proud of the new paintings, and arranged an exhibition for them in early 1930. She received a warm response from critics, that found Georgia able to embrace any subject and paint it on canvas. Museums throughout the country also expressed their appreciation of her work. and the Cleveland Museum of Fine Arts took the honor of being the first institution to purchase and display her paintings.

Every summer, Georgia would return to New Mexico, until Stieglitz's death in Black Cross with Red Sky1946 when she would make it her home. scattered throughout the desert landscape were large wooden crosses, which fascinated Georgia. Black Cross with Red Sky was part of a series she painted, studying the crosses that dotted the desert sky.

When O'Keeffe would return to New York at the end of each summer, she wanted to pack up the western country and bring it back east with her. As a compromise, George would gather some of the dried bones she found in the desert, pack them in crates with white and pink paper Calico Roses from fiestas, and ship them to Lake George. The first of the dry bone paintings was done while at Lake George in 1931. Stieglitz detested changed, and these paintings represented a growth in O'Keeffe's art. He would have been happy for her to continue painting the flowers, but eventually, he accepted the paintings with the same eagerness as the public.

Georgia O'Keeffe, continued...

Cow Skull with Calico Roses



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