The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

American Art and the Influence of Europe

Who was Georgia O’Keeffe?

Although Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) is quite popular for her large, highly detailed paintings of flowers, throughout her career she painted a range of subjects—from New York city skyscrapers to desert scenes, cow skulls, and adobe architecture. O’Keeffe was a modernist painter whose work was highly distilled and so precise it could border on the abstract. Georgia O’Keeffe’s first solo show was in 1917 at the 921 Gallery, run by photographer and collector Alfred Stieglitz, who she later married. After his death in 1946, O’Keeffe permanently relocated to New Mexico, where she was interested in the sun’s effect on the visual quality of objects and lived an isolated life. Her work oscillates between realism and abstraction, and her powerful images have brought her celebrity status as an artist.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s large paintings of flowers, including Two Calla Lilies on Pink (1928), are praised for their fluid oscillation between precise detail and abstraction. (Art courtesy The Bridgeman Library, © 2013 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum /Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York)


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