Georgia O'Keeffe Nude

wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:59:49

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‘Georgia O'Keeffe Nude’ is a photograph made by Alfred Stieglitz in 1919. Sold in 2006 for $1,360,000, it is currently the sixth most expensive photograph sold at auction. The photographer

Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) was an American pictorialist and tonalist photographer, described as “perhaps the most important figure in the history of visual arts in America”.

His pursuit of photography as an art form was novel at a time when it was considered that “cameras were machines, and everyone knew that machines didn’t make art; people made art.”

History

Georgia O'Keeffe and Stieglitz began an affair in 1917, which culminated in their marriage in 1924.

This photograph was taken in 1919 as part of a series of intimate shots of O’Keefe, and was later exhibited in a “ground-breaking show” which “electrified” the public.

The photograph depicts the body of O'Keeffe, omitting her head and lower legs.

The photograph was considered controversial and innovative at the time; O'Keeffe herself commented on the series of shots, stating that "nothing like them had come into our world before."

The photograph has been described as having “a timeless, heroic quality”, and that the “cropping of the torso, with its uplifted arms and muscular thighs, may owe its inspiration to the sculpture of Auguste Rodin”.

Record sale

On the 14th February 2006, a print of ‘Georgia O'Keeffe Nude’ was sold for $1,360,000 at Sotheby’s, New York, significantly above the estimate sale price of $300-500,000.

The palladium print, measuring 24 by 19.2 cm, was mounted and matted, with a pencil inscription reading “treated by Steichen”.

The print, alongside another Stieglitz work entitled ‘Georgia O'Keeffe (Hands)’, was sold to the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

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