World-renowned American painter; twentieth century Modernist
By Eve Perry
Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most celebrated American painters of the twentieth century, has achieved legendary status for her unique interpretations of a range of subjects: flowers, architecture, animal bones and landscapes of the American southwest.
VII. Suggested Resources
Georgia O’Keeffe is one of the most original and captivating American painters of the twentieth century. She is best known for her work which explores, through distilled shape and color, the majesty of nature and the intrigue of the southwestern American landscape. As a woman artist emerging amid the male-dominated milieu of early-twentieth century Modernism, O’Keeffe developed a pictorial style that bore little resemblance to the various movements championed by her avant-garde contemporaries. At times verging on abstraction, she remained committed throughout her life to capturing the essence of observable objects and scenes in their most basic incarnations.
Born on a Wisconsin dairy farm in 1887, O’Keeffe manifested her talent as an artist at an early age; by the time she was in secondary school, she was certain she would become a famous artist. In 1905 she attended the Art Institute of Chicago and continued her education at the Art Students League in New York where she studied under the prominent American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. Her talents earned her the Chase Still Life Scholarship which funded her attendance at the summer school of the Art Students League at Lake George, New York. It was there that she first painted outdoors and was introduced to the natural scenery of Lake George. She would return to the site frequently throughout her early career to paint her famous flower series. In 1913 O’Keeffe attended Columbia University Teachers College where she was instructed by Arthur Wesley Dow. Dow’s notion of “filling space in a beautiful way” liberated O’Keeffe from the confines of strict representation and set her on her lifelong investigation of her own intuitive perceptions and the expressive potential of her subjects.
In 1916, O’Keeffe began to attract the attentions of the American public when she exhibited several charcoal drawings at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291gallery in New York City. The photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, O’Keeffe’s future husband, helped launch her art career, introducing her to acquaintances within the art world and providing her with financial support, studio space and frequent exhibition opportunities. O’Keeffe’s first major exhibition showcased her remarkable skill as a draftsman. The organic, fluid forms of her early abstracted charcoal drawings constituted the visual vocabulary she would reference decades later in her landscapes and still-lifes. The drawings earned her critical acclaim from critics who deemed her work inventive and definitively Modern. The exhibition also called attention to the distinctly feminine artistic sensibilities O’Keeffe was thought to possess. Art critic Henry Tyrell wrote that the drawings presented “the innermost unfolding of a girl’s being, like the germinating of a flower.”
O’Keefe began taking extended trips to northern New Mexico in 1929 where she encountered new objects and scenes that became the source of her inspiration for the remainder of her artistic career. Cow skulls and other scavenged animal bones become symbols, in her vivid renderings, of the eternal beauty of the desert. O’Keeffe was also transfixed by the sparse splendor of the New Mexico desert landscape which she captured with a pared-down, if at times surreal, elegance.
Until 1949 when O’Keeffe made Abiquiu, New Mexico her permanent residence, she spent her winters in New York exhibiting the work she produced during her summers in New Mexico. She lived and worked in New Mexico for the rest of her 98 years, dividing her time between her homes in Abiquiu and the remote Ghost Ranch until she moved to Santa Fe two years before her death.
O’Keeffe’s legendary life and compelling work have captured the imaginations of many. She has been the subject of numerous monographs and biographies. Major retrospectives of her work have been mounted at the finest art institutions in the country: the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American, the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art. Her work is represented in every major American or Modern Art collection in the world.
1887 Born November 15 outside of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
1905 Attended Art Institute of Chicago (through 1906)
1907 Enrolled in the Art Students League in New York. Studied with William
1908 Painted in Lake George, New York with support of Chase Still Life Scholarship
1909 Worked for two years as a commercial artist in Chicago
1912 Began two-year position as drawing supervisor for art in public schools in
1913 Studied with Arthur Dow at Columbia University’s Teachers’ College
1917 One-woman show at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 gallery. First painting trip to
the southwestern United States
1918 Lived and painted in New York City and Lake George until 1928, spent several
summers in Maine
1923 First exhibition with Stieglitz at Anderson Galleries
1924 Married Stieglitz
1926 First of three annual exhibitions of new work at Stieglitz’s Intimate Gallery
1927 Retrospective at The Brooklyn Museum
1929 Spent first of many summers painting in New Mexico
1930 First of annual exhibitions, until 1946, at Stieglitz’s gallery An American Place
1949 Traveled to Honolulu to produce paintings for Dole Company commission
1934 First summer spent at Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu, New Mexico
1940 Purchased house at Ghost Ranch
1943 Retrospective at Art Institute of Chicago
1946 Retrospective at Museum of Modern Art, New York. Alfred Stieglitz died
1947 Spent falls and winters in New York City until 1949. Organized exhibitions of
1949 Moved to Abiquiu, New Mexico permanently
1952 Began exhibiting at Downtown Gallery in New York City, exhibited there for
over a decade
1953 Retrospective at Dallas Museum of Art. Took first trip to Europe—France,
Germany and Spain
1959 Took first tour around the world
1960 Retrospective at Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts
1966 Retrospectives at Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Forth Worth; Museum
of Fine Arts, Houston; University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque
1968 Featured in Life magazine’s “Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Stark Visions of
A Pioneer Painter”
1970 Retrospective at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of
Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Art
1974 Took first of many trips to Morocco with assistant Juan Hamilton
1976 First monograph, Georgia O’Keeffe, published
1977 Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Gerald R. Ford
1978 The Metropolitan Museum of Art mounts Georgia O’Keeffe: A Portrait by
Alfred Stieglitz with works she selected
1980 First full length biography, Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffee,
1985 Awarded National Medal of Arts by President Ronald Reagan
1986 Died in Santa Fe at age 98, her ashes scattered over northern New Mexico
1987 Centennial of her birth celebrated by retrospectives at National Gallery of Art
which toured to Art Institute of Chicago, Dallas Museum of Art, Metropolitan
Museum of Art, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art
1989 Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation established
Aichu Prefecture Museum, Nagoya, Japan
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, NY
Amarillo Museum of Art, TX
Amon Carter Museum, TX
Anschutz Collection, CO
Arizona State University, AZ
Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Art Students League of New York, NY
Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
Berry-Hill Galleries, Inc., NY
Birmingham Museum of Art, AL
Brooklyn Museum, NY
Butler Institute of American Art, OH
Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery, NY
Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art, PA
Chrysler Museum of Art, VA
Cleveland Museum of Art, OH
Cline Fine Art Gallery, NM
Colby College, Museum of Art, ME
College of William and Mary, Muscarelle Museum of Art, VA
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, CO
Columbus Museum of Art, OH
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Cornell University, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, NY
Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH
Curtis Galleries, MN
Dallas Museum of Art, TX
Daros Collections, Switzerland
Dartmouth College, Hood Museum of Art, NH
Dayton Art Institute, OH
Denver Art Museum, CO
Des Moines Art Center, IA
Detroit Institute of Arts, MI
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, IN
Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, IN
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, CA
Fisk University, Carl Van Vechten Gallery of Fine Arts, TN
Fitchburg Art Museum, MA
Forbes Magazine Collection, NY
Freedom Place Collection, Washington DC
Fukuoka Cultural Foundation, Fukuoka, Japan
Fundacion Coleccion Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation, NM
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, NM
Gerald Peters Gallery, NM
Grete Meilman Fine Art, NY
Heckscher Museum of Art, NY
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Honolulu Academy of Arts, HI
Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN
Ira Spanierman Gallery, NY
Jordan-Volpe Gallery, NY
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, MO
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, TX
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, TN
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Milwaukee Art Museum, WI
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN
Mississippi Museum of Art, MS
Mocum Collection, TX
Montclair Art Museum, NJ
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, AL
Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute Museum of Art, NY
Muscatine Art Center, IA
Musee nationale d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, France
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Internacional Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico
Museum of Fine Arts, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, TX
Museum of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg, FL
Museum of Modern Art, NY
Museum of New Mexico, Museum of Fine Arts, NM
Museum of Modern Art, NY
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, MO
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
New Britain Museum of American Art, CT
New Jersey State Museum, NJ
New Orleans Museum of Art, LA
North Carolina Museum of Art, NC
Norton Museum of Art, FL
Oklahoma City Museum of Art, OK
Orlando Museum of Art, FL
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, TX
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, PA
Phillips Academy, Addison Gallery of American Art, MA
Phillips Collection, Washington DC
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
Phoenix Art Museum, AZ
Princeton University, Art Museum, NJ
Rahr-West Art Museum, WI
Reynolda House, Museum of American Art, NC
Rhode Island School of Design, Museum of Art, RI
Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM
Saint Joseph College, West Hartford, CT
San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Fe Art Foundation, Santa Fe, NM
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
Smith College, Smith College Museum of Art, MA
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC
Smithsonian Institution, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC
Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany
Stanford University, Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, CA
Stark Museum of Art, TX
State University of New York at Purchase, Neuberger Museum, NY
St. Louis Art Museum, MO
Terra Foundation for the Arts, IL
Texas Tech University, Museum, TX
Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain
Tobin Foundation, TX
Toledo Museum of Art, OH
University of Arizona, Museum of Art, AZ
University of Georgia, Georgia Museum of Art, GA
University of Kansas, Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art, KS
University of Minnesota, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, MN
University of Mississippi, University, MS
University of Nebraska, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, NE
University of New Mexico, University Art Museum, NM
University of Notre Dame, Snite Museum of Art, IN
University of Rochester, Memorial Art Gallery, NY
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chazen Museum of Art, WI
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Institute of Visual Arts, WI
Valparaiso University, Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso, IN
Vassar College, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, NY
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, VA
Wadsworth Atheneum, CT
Walker Art Center, MN
White House, Washington DC
Whitney Museum of American Art, NY
Wichita Art Museum, KS
William H. Lane Foundation, MA
Williams College, Williams College Museum of Art, MA
Yale University Art Gallery, CT
1923-24 Anderson Gallery
1926-29 The Intimate Gallery
1927 The Brooklyn Museum, Retrospective
1930-50 An American Place
1943 Art Institute of Chicago, Retrospective
1946 Museum of Modern Art, Retrospective
1952-61 At the Downtown Gallery
1953 Dallas Museum of Art, Retrospective
1960 Worcester Art Museum, Retrospective
1966 Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Retrospective; University Art Museum, Albuquerque, Retrospective
1970 Whitney Museum of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Art, Retrospective
1987 National Gallery of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Dallas Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Retrospective
National Institute of Arts and Letters
American Academy of Arts and Letters
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Georgia O’Keeffe: The Poetry of Things [exh. cat., The Phillips Collection Washington] (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), p. 2.
Charles C. Eldredge, O’Keeffe: American and Modern. [exh. cat., Hayward Gallery, London] (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), p. 163.
Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, Full bloom: the art and life of Georgia O'Keeffe (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004), p. 112.
VI. Suggested Resources
Adato, Perry Miller (producer and director). Georgia O’Keeffe. Videotape, 59 min., produced by WNET/THIRTEEN for Women In Art, 1977. Portrait of an
Artist, no.1. Series distributed by Films, Inc./Home Vision, New York.
Berry, Michael. Georgia O’Keeffe: Painter. American Women of Achievement Series. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.
Benke, Britta. O’Keeffe. Koln: Taschen, 1995.
Brennan, Marcia. Painting Gender, Constructing Theory: the Alfred Stieglitz Circle and
American Formalist Aesthetics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.
Bry, Doris, ed. Georgia O’Keeffe: Some Memories of Drawings. Albuquerque:University of New Mexico Press, 1974.
Bry, Doris and Nicholas Callaway, eds. Georgia O’Keeffe: In the West. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1989.
Bry, Doris and Nicholas Callaway, eds. Georgia O’Keeffe: The New York Years.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.
Callaway, Nicholas, ed. Georgia O’Keeffe: One Hundred Flowers. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.
Castro, Jan Garden. The Art & Life of Georgia O’Keeffe. New York: Crown Publishers, 1985. Reprint, New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1995.
Connor, Celeste. Democratic Visions: Art and Theory of the Stieglitz Circle, 1924-1934. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.
Cowart, Jack, Juan Hamilton, and Sarah Greenough. Georgia O’Keeffe: Arts and Letters. [exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC]. Boston: New York Graphic Society Books, 1987.
Dijkstra, Bram. Georgia O’Keeffe and the Eros of Place. Princeton: Princeton University
Drohojowska-Philp, Hunter. Full bloom: the art and life of Georgia O'Keeffe. New York: W. W.
Norton & Company, 2004.
Eldredge, Charles C. Georgia O’Keeffe. Library of American Art Series. The National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1991.
_______. Georgia O’Keeffe: American and Modern. [exh. cat., Hayward
Gallery, London]. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.
Fine, Ruth E., Elizabeth Glassman, and Juan Hamilton. The Book Room: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Library in Abiquiu. [exh. cat., The Grolier Club, New York]. New York, 1997.
Fine, Ruth E., Barbara Buhler Lynes, with Elizabeth Glassman, and Judith Walsh. O’Keeffe on
Paper. [exh. cat., Washington, D.C.:National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC and in association with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe]. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000.
Gallup, Donald C. “Georgia O’Keeffe: 1949-1986”. In Pigeons on the Granite:
Memories of a Yale Librarian. New Haven: Yale University Library, 1988.
Georgia O’Keeffe. [exh. cat., Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe]. Santa Fe, 1990.
Georgia O’Keeffe: Selected Paintings and Works on Paper. [exh. cat., Gerald Peters Gallery, Dallas]. Da1las, 1986.
Giboire, Clive, ed. Lovingly, Georgia: The Complete Correspondence of Georgia O’Keeffe and Anita Pollitzer. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.
Goethals, Marion M. Georgia O’Keeffe: Natural Issues, 1918-1924. [exh. cat.,
Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA]. Williamstown, 1992.
Goodrich, Lloyd and Doris Bry. Georgia O’Keeffe. [exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York]. New York: Praeger, 1970.
Harris, Adam Duncan; foreword by Francine Carraro. Yosemite 1938: on the Trail with Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keeffe. Jackson, WY: National Museum of Wildlife Art, 2003.
Haskell, Barbara with introduction by David Turner. Georgia O’Keeffe: Works on Paper. [exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe]. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1985.
Hassrick, Peter H., ed. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1997.
Kalb, Peter R.; foreword by Linda Nochlin. High Drama: the New York Cityscapes of Georgia O’Keeffe and Margaret Bourke-White. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 2003.
Kelm, Bonnie G., and Ann C. Madonia, eds. Georgia O’Keeffe in Williamsburg: A Re-Creation of the Artist’s First Public Exhibition in the South, January 27-May
27, 2001. [exh. cat., The Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg, VA]. The College of William and Mary in Virginia, Williamsburg, 2001.
Kornhauser, Elizabeth Mankin, Amy Ellis, with Maura Lyons. Stieglitz, O’Keeffe & American Modernism. [exh. cat., The Wadsworth Antheneum] Hartford:Wadsworth Atheneum, 1999.
Lisle, Laurie. *Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe. New York: Seaview Books, 1980. Rev. ed., New York: Washington Square Press, 1987.
Loengard, John. Georgia O’Keeffe at Ghost Ranch: A Photo Essay. New York: The Neues Publishing Company, 1998.
Lynes, Barbara Buhler. Georgia O’Keeffe: Catalogue Raisonné. 2 vols. New Haven: Yale University Press; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, Abiquiu, NM, 1999.
______. Georgia O’Keeffe. New York: Rizzoli International Publications,
______. Georgia O'Keeffe and the Calla Lily in American Art, 1860–1940. [exh. cat., Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.] New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.
______. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: Highlights from the Collection. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003.
______. “Georgia O’Keeffe, 1916 and 1917: My Own Tune.” In Modern Art in America: Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries, edited by Sarah
Greenough, 261-69. [exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC]. Washington, DC, 2001.
______. “The Language of Criticism: Its Effect on the Art of Georgia O’Keeffe in the 1920s.” In From the Faraway, Nearby: Georgia O’Keeffe as Icon, edited by Christopher Merrill and Ellen Bradbury, 43-54. Reading, MA:
Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1992. Reprint, Women’s Art Magazine 51
(March/April 1993): 4-9.
______. “O’Keeffe and Feminism: A Problem of Position.” In The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History, edited by Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard, 436-49. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
______. O’Keeffe, Stieglitz and the Critics: 1916-1929. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989. Reprint, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
Lynes, Barbara Buhler and Ann Paden, eds. Maria Chabot/Georgia O’Keeffe: Correspondence, 1941-1949. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003.
Lynes, Barbara Buhler, Lesley Poling-Kempes, and Frederick W. Turner. Georgia O’Keeffe and New Mexico: A Sense of Place. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.
Lynes, Barbara Buhler, with Russell Bowman. O’Keeffes: The Artist’s Collection. [exh. cat., Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, in association with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe]London: Thames and Hudson, 2001.
Merrill, Christopher and Ellen Bradbury, eds. From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O’Keeffe as Icon. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1992. Reprint, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998.
Merrill, C.S. O’Keeffe: Days in a Life. Albuquerque: La Alameda Press, 1995.
Messinger, Lisa Mintz. Georgia O’Keeffe. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2001.
______. “Georgia O’Keeffe.” In The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Bulletin, XLII: 2 (Fall 1984), entire issue. Reprinted as Georgia O’Keeffe. New
York: Thames & Hudson, 1998.
Newman, Sasha. Georgia O’Keeffe. Washington, DC: The Phillips Collection, 1985.
O’Keeffe, Georgia. Georgia O’Keeffe. New York: Viking Press, 1976. Reprint, New
York: Penguin Books, 1985.
______.Introduction to Georgia O’Keeffe: A Portrait by Alfred Stieglitz. [exh. cat., The Metropolitan
Museum of Art, New York]. New York, 1978.
80th Anniversary Exhibition: O’Keeffe’s New Mexico. [exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe]. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1997.
Patten, Christine Taylor and Alvaro Cardona-Hine. Miss O’Keeffe. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1992.
Peters, Sarah Whitaker. Becoming O’Keeffe: The Early Years. New York: Abbeville
Press, 1991. Rev. ed. New York: Abbeville Press, 2001.
Pollitzer, Anita. A Woman on Paper: Georgia O’Keeffe. New York: Simon & Schuster,
Robinson, Roxana. Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life. New York: Harper & Row Publishers,
1989. Reprint, Hanover: University Press of New England, 1999.
Scott, Nancy. “The O’Keeffe-Pollitzer Correspondence, 1915-1917.” In Notes in the History of Art, III:1 (Fall 1983), 34-42.
Turner, Elizabeth Hutton. Georgia O’Keeffe: The Poetry of Things. [exh. cat., The Phillips Collection Washington]. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.
Turner, Robyn Montana. Georgia O’Keeffe: Portraits of Women Artists for Children. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1991.
Udall, Sharyn R. O’Keeffe and Texas. [exh. cat., McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX]. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1998.
Venezia, Mike. Georgia O’Keeffe. Chicago: Children’s Press, 1993.
Wagner, Anne Middleton. Three Artists (Three Women): Modernism and The Art of Hesse, Krasner and O’Keeffe. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
Winter, Jeanette. My Name is Georgia: A Portrait. San Diego: Silver Whistle/Harcourt