Georgia O'Keeffe United States, 1887-1986

Biography

Georgia O’Keeffe (b. 1887, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin; d. 1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico) is one of the most celebrated painters of American Modernism, best known for her stylized and idiosyncratic hybridization of realism and abstraction in large-format painting. The artist’s subject matter evolved over the course of her career but largely centered around flora, bones, architecture, and landscape and incorporated international influences including Navajo culture and Japanese compositional techniques. O’Keeffe enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1905 to 1906 before relocating to New York to study at the Art Students League. In 1916, Alfred Stieglitz–whom O’Keeffe would marry in 1924–exhibited her work at his gallery 291 in New York. A year later she was given her first solo exhibition at his gallery. By the 1930s, O’Keeffe was an established modernist in the New York art scene. She began shifting away from stark abstraction and moving towards more readily recognizable subject matter, but her work remained influenced by the minimalism and cropping techniques of modernist photography. In 1933, O’Keeffe suffered a mental breakdown and her work following this period is demonstrative of the therapeutic quality of painting that she channeled in her practice, which is particularly visible in the artist’s serene depictions of the landscape of New Mexico. In 1949, O’Keeffe settled in the state permanently, and her work of the following decade returned to the abstraction that characterized her early career. O’Keeffe’s work is held in numerous global museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.

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