O'Keeffe, Georgia

O'Keeffe, Georgia
born Nov. 15, 1887, near Sun Prairie, Wis., U.S.
died March 6, 1986, Santa Fe, N.M.

U.S. painter.

She studied art in Chicago and New York City, where she met and married the photographer Alfred Stieglitz. By the early 1920s, her highly individualistic painting style had emerged, as typified by such works as Black Iris (1926). Her subjects were often enlarged views of the skulls and other bones of animals, flowers and plant organs, shells, rocks, mountains, and other natural forms. Her mysteriously suggestive images of bones and flowers set against a perspectiveless space have inspired a variety of erotic, psychological, and symbolic interpretations. Her later works celebrate the clear skies and desert landscapes of New Mexico, where she moved after her husband's death in 1946. She is regarded by critics as one of the most original and important American artists, and her works are highly popular among the general public.

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▪ American painter
born November 15, 1887, near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, U.S.
died March 6, 1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico
 one of the foremost painters in 20th-century American art.

      O'Keeffe grew up and attended schools in her hometown of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, and, from 1902, in Williamsburg, Virginia. Determined from an early age to be a painter, she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (1904–05) and the Art Students League of New York (1907–08), and afterward she supported herself by doing commercial art. She then taught art at various schools and colleges in Texas and other Southern states from 1912 to 1916, and in the latter year her drawings were discovered and exhibited by the American photographer Alfred Stieglitz (Stieglitz, Alfred). Stieglitz praised and promoted her work, and the two artists began a lifelong relationship, marrying in 1924. The hundreds of photographs Stieglitz took of her form a notable and extended portrait series. O'Keeffe moved to New York City after meeting Stieglitz; she later spent periods in New Mexico, to which she moved after her husband's death in 1946.

 O'Keeffe's early pictures were basically imitative, but by the early 1920s her own highly individualistic style of painting had emerged. Frequently her subjects were enlarged views of skulls and other animal bones, flowers and plant organs, shells, rocks, mountains, and other natural forms. O'Keeffe delineated these forms with probing and subtly rhythmic outlines and delicately modulated washes of clear colour. Her mysteriously suggestive images of bones and flowers set against a perspectiveless space inspired a variety of erotic, psychologic, and symbolic interpretations. The precision and austerity of her works owe something to the Precisionist (Precisionism) paintings of Charles Sheeler (Sheeler, Charles) and Charles Demuth (Demuth, Charles), but her ability to invest biomorphic forms with an abstract beauty was entirely her own. Her style is typified in such paintings as Black Iris (1926) and Cow's Skull, Red, White and Blue (1931).

      O'Keeffe painted her best-known works in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, but she remained an active painter into the '80s. Her later works frequently celebrate the clear skies and desert landscapes of New Mexico. A retrospective exhibition of her art held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1970 assured her reputation as one of the most original and important artists in modern American painting.

      Her autobiography, Georgia O'Keeffe, was published in 1976.

Additional Reading
Biographies include Roxana Robinson, Georgia O'Keeffe (1989); and Laurie Lisle, Portrait of an Artist, rev. ed. (1997). Charles C. Eldredge, Georgia O'Keeffe (1991), presents reproductions of her work.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • O'Keeffe, Georgia — (11/15/1887 Sun Prairie, WI 3/6/1986 Santa Fe, NM) (USA)    Painter. Studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League. A major figure in modern American art. Best known for flower and landscape paintings. Some of… …   Dictionary of erotic artists: painters, sculptors, printmakers, graphic designers and illustrators

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  • Georgia O'Keeffe — Georgia O’Keeffe [Georgia OKeeffe] (1887–1986) a US artist known for her colourful ↑abstract images from nature and her pictures of the south western US countryside. She was married to the photographer Alfred Stieglitz …   Useful english dictionary

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