Georgia O'Keeffe (American Artist)
Georgia O'Keeffe was an groundbreaking painter and one of America's most important artists of the 20th century.
Brief biography of artist
Georgia O’Keeffe (born 15th November 1887) was an American artist. Born in Wisconsin to a farming family, she aspired to become an artist from a young age. O’Keeffe studied at the Art Institute in Chicago, and the Art Students League in New York, and began her career in an era during which female artists were rarely recognized artistically.
In 1914, she began teaching at Columbia College, accepting the post as it allowed her time to paint. Her work was first exhibited two years later, at a gallery in New York. She later married the gallery owner, American photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and moved to New York, where she created some of her most famous works, including her flower paintings.
She remained in New York until her husband’s death in 1946, when she relocated to the southwest, and began a series of paintings featuring skulls, inspired by a trip to the desert of Mexico in the late 1920s. In the 1960s, O’Keeffe was made a member of the United States largest society for the arts, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and is regarded as one of the formative modernist painters. O’Keeffe died on 6th March 1986, at the age of 98.
Guide for collectors
O’Keeffe’s work continues to be rediscovered by art collectors and enthusiasts, and has sold increasingly well at auction in recent years, making these pieces extremely desirable. Her painting ‘Yellow Jonquils IV’, from 1936, sold for $1,900,000 from Phillips de Pury & Company on 12th May 2011.
Another of her artworks, ‘Red Hills with Pedernal, White Clouds’ sold for $1,352,000 on 21st May 2003 at Sotheby’s in New York, whilst the following year, the same auction house sold ‘Ghost Ranch Cliffs’ for $1,072,000 on 4th December 2004. Her artworks can be identified not only by subject matter, but by the vibrancy of the colours used, which are frequently bright and eye-catching.
Most expensive work
The artist was fascinated with flowers, creating numerous large-scale paintings of them. The current record for an O’Keeffe painting is one of these flower paintings, ‘Calla Lilies with Red Anemone’ from 1928, which sold from Christie’s Auction House for $6,166,000 on 23rd May 2001.
Most famous works
Georgia O’Keeffe is perhaps most famous for her flower paintings, with the most famous of these being 1928’s ‘Oriental Poppies’, an enormous oil painting using a palette of red, orange and purple. The painting has no background, which draws the eye to the focus; the flowers. The artist believed that people often neglected to notice how beautiful flowers were, due to the fast pace of modern living, so opted to paint them large and detailed on canvas, with the intent this would make even the most hurried of people stop and stare.
The painting is on display at Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis. She is also famed for her paintings of skulls, the most famous of which is ‘Rams Head, White Hollyhock-Hills’, completed in 1935, and currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York.