Georgia O’Keeffe Totto was an American painter, who was born on November 15, 1887, in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, United States.
At the age of 8 he began his artistic training at the Art Institute of Chicago and later, he entered the Art Students League of New York. At age 10 Georgia He discovered that his parents could not pay for his studies, as his father was bankrupt and his mother had tuberculosis.
With the help of an aunt he continued his studies at Madison High School and as he got the opportunity, he began to help his family, using his artistic skills.
At age 21, she worked as an illustrator in Chicago and later worked as an elementary school art teacher in Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina. During that time, in the summers, I continue to study art, moving away from the tendency to copy or represent and moving closer to beginning to define their own personal style, interpreting various themes.
At age 31, she moved to New York to formally begin her career as an artist and while in the city, visiting galleries, she met her future husband, the photographer. Alfred Stieglitz. In 1924 she married him, for whom she was her muse, as an artist, as a woman, as her lover.
Alfred Stieglitz He dedicated a series of photographs to her, where Georgia was presented with magic and eroticism. Between 1925 and 1929, Georgia O’Keeffe painted many buildings in New York, creating a series of paintings based on the skyscraper
from the city.
Georgia and Alfred lived together in New York until 1929, when O’Keeffe traveled to New Mexico and fell in love with the place, its scenery, and the animal skulls.
O’Keeffe is world renowned for three recurring themes in her work: her magnified flowers, your beloved New Mexico desert and the New York skyscrapers.
Georgia was always true to herself, with a tenacity that opened up new territories for her, and that helped to give her credence within American modernism. In 1972 Georgia began to have vision problems, so she stopped painting in oils and continued with charcoal and pencils until 1984.
Georgia O’Keeffe died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, on March 6, 1986, at the age of 98.
Her mysterious and hypnotic paintings loaded with symbolism, made her one of the most important artists of the 20th century.
Georgia O’Keeffe in New York
In 1914, during a brief stay in New York, he came into contact with the New York artistic avant-garde. It was at this time that he met Alfred Stieglitz, a photographer who was striving to elevate photography to the level of Fine Arts.
Alfred Stieglitz, impressed by O’Keeffe’s abstractions based on natural motifs, organized his first solo exhibition for him in 1917.
So, in 1918, Georgia moved to New York to formally dedicate herself to working as an artist. He began creating simplified images of natural things, such as leaves, flowers, and rocks. A beautiful example of this is “Blue and Green Music” from 1921.
In Georgia’s own words “Blue and Green Music” expresses her “feelings about music through visual art, using bold and subtle colors”.
While in New York, Georgia O’Keeffe dared to paint skyscrapers, something that only men had done until then. In 1946, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA for its acronym in English) dedicated a solo exhibition to him, the first being dedicated to a woman.
Georgia O’Keefe and the Flowers
Georgia O’Keeffe began to create new forms of abstract art, and with them appeared her large-format flowers, in a particular combination of symbolism and abstraction.
The decade of the twenties served to consolidate her as a mature artist, whose close-ups of flowers became her sign of identity. Georgia painted more than 200 flower paintings. His first large-scale flower was: “Petunia No. 2” from 1924, which was exhibited in 1925.
Many said that her works represented the genitals of women, although she denied it. This reputation for depicting women’s sexuality was perhaps fueled by explicit and sensual photographs that Stieglitz had taken and displayed of his wife.
Many art critics have considered her one of the forerunners of feminist painting, shown through Georgia O’Keeffe’s floral mysteries.
Georgia O’Keeffe and New Mexico
Starting in 1929, when Georgia O’Keeffe got to know New Mexico, it became her main source of inspiration. Thus, his flowers and skyscrapers began to be left behind, as he began to paint bones and skulls of animals, as well as landscapes of his adobe house.
He also painted the mountains, churches and adobe buildings of New Mexico, and it is that Georgia found inspiration in the landscape and in all the nature it saw. He had fallen in love with the desert, for there he found his home, the “Ghost Ranch”, and his magical mountain, Flint.
To the flowers that he always liked to paint, he incorporated animal bones, also playing with the perspective of the landscape. As can be seen in his works: “Horse’s Skull with Pink Rose” from 1931 and “Deer’s Skull with Flint” from 1936.
Georgia painted all the time, she sent the paintings to her husband and he decided if they were sold or not, and to whom. In 1934 a miracle happened: the Museum of Modern Art from New York, one of the most prestigious in the world, bought one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings.
Georgia continued to paint and sell many of her paintings through her husband until his death on July 13, 1946.
Last years of Georgia
Being in her sixties, she traveled through Europe, Peru, India and Japan showing her work. At age 74 she visited the Colorado River and was named a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In Georgia O’Keeffe’s last paintings the protagonists were curves, spirals, lines and points, taking up her early abstract works. These paintings were made with the help of his gardener, who followed his instructions to choose brushes and choose colors for his works.
He never stopped painting and when he had problems with partial loss of vision, he collaborated with other artists.