Georgia O’Keeffe & American Modernism. Everything you should know: gallery, videos, biography and photos.
Georgia O’Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887, in a farmhouse near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. By age ten she had decided to become an artist, and received art instruction from local watercolorist Sara Mann.
Georgia O’Keeffe has been recognized as the Mother of American Modernism, an artistic and cultural movement in the United States starting at the beginning of the 20th century with a central period between World War I and World War II and continuing today. It reacts against historicism, artistic conventions and institutionalization of art. Artists were inspired by African, Caribbean, Asian and European folk cultures, although it’s a reflection of American life in the 20th century. Characteristically, modernist art has a tendency to abstraction, and it’s innovative, aesthetic, futuristic and self-referential.
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O’Keeffe studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1905 to 1906, and in 1907, she attended the Art Students League in New York City.
In 1908, she won the League’s William Merritt Chase still-life prize for her oil painting Dead Rabbit with Copper Pot. Also this year, she attended an exhibition of Rodin’s watercolors at the 291, owned by her future husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz.
However, she did not paint for four years, and said that the smell of turpentine made her sick.
She was inspired to paint again in 1912. She attended a class at the University of Virginia Summer School, and was introduced to the original ideas of Arthur Wesley Dow, who encouraged artists to express themselves using line, color, and shading harmoniously.
In the fall of 1915, she completed a series of highly innovative charcoal abstractions. Also, she often visited the Palo Duro Canyon, making its forms a subject in her work
In 1916, she moved to New York to live with Alfred Stieglitz. They spent part of every year at the village of Lake George until 1929.
In 1929, Georgia O’Keeffe spent the first of many summers painting in New Mexico, her permanent home after 1949.
In 1972, Georgia O’Keeffe’s eyesight was compromised by macular degeneration. She stopped oil painting but she produced clay pots and a series of works in watercolor with the help of Juan Hamilton. She moved to Santa Fe in 1984, where she died on March 6, 1986, at the age of 98.
Video: Georgia O’Keeffe: Flowers.