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Georgia O’Keefe. November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986 Born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O'Keeffe first came to the attention of the New York art community.

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Presentation on theme: "Georgia O’Keefe. November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986 Born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O'Keeffe first came to the attention of the New York art community."— Presentation transcript:

1 Georgia O’Keefe

2 November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986 Born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O'Keeffe first came to the attention of the New York art community in 1916. She made large-format paintings of enlarged blossoms, presenting them close up as if seen through a magnifying lens, and New York buildings, most of which date from the same decade. Beginning in 1929, when she began working part of the year in Northern New Mexico—which she made her permanent home in 1949—O’Keeffe depicted subjects specific to that area. O'Keeffe has been recognized as the Mother of American Modernism. American modernism is a trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve, and reshape their environment, with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology and practical experimentation, and is thus in its essence both progressive and optimistic.

3 Georgia O’Keefe’s parents Francis Calyxtus O'Keeffe and Ida (Totto) O'Keeffe, were dairy farmers. Her father was of Irish descent. Her mother's father, George Victor Totto, for whom Georgia O'Keeffe was named, was a Hungarian count who came to America in 1848. Georgia was the second of seven O'Keeffe children, and the first daughter. She attended Town Hall School in Sun Prairie. By age ten she had decided to become an artist, and she and her sister received art instruction from local watercolorist Sara Mann. She attended high school in Madison, Wisconsin, and then moved with her family to Virginia. She completed high school as a boarder at Chatham Episcopal Institute in Virginia (now Chatham Hall), and graduated in 1905. Georgia O’Keefe, 1918 Photograph by her future husband, Alfred Stieglitz, who was also a famous photographer.

4 Art, Life, Studies, and career O'Keeffe studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1905 to 1906. In 1907, she attended the Art Students League in New York City, where she studied under William Merritt Chase. In 1908, she won the League's William Merritt Chase still-life prize for her oil painting Dead Rabbit with Copper Pot.[6] Her prize was a scholarship to attend the League's outdoor summer school at Lake George, New York. While in the city in 1908, O'Keeffe attended an exhibition of Rodin's watercolors at the 291, owned by her future husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. After further course work at Columbia in the spring of 1916 and summer teaching for Bement, she took a job as head of the art department at West Texas State Normal College from fall 1916 to February 1918, the fledgling West Texas A&M University in Canyon just south of Amarillo. While there, she often visited the Palo Duro Canyon, making its forms a subject in her work.

5 Cityscapes, Landscapes and close ups Soon after 1918, O'Keeffe began working primarily in oil, a shift away from having worked primarily in watercolor in the earlier 1910s. By the mid-1920s, O'Keeffe began making large-scale paintings of natural forms at close range, as if seen through a magnifying lens. In 1924 she painted her first large-scale flower painting Petunia, No. 2, which was first exhibited in 1925. She also completed a significant body of paintings of New York buildings, such as City Night and New York—Night, 1926, and Radiator Bldg—Night, New York, 1927. O’Keefe then began to paint very close up large scale flower paintings which would end up that which she was most famous for.


7 O'Keeffe began making large-scale paintings of natural forms at close range, as if seen through a magnifying lens.

8 In 1922, the New York Sun published an article quoting O'Keeffe: "It is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things.”

9 O’Keefe continued to paint her close up magnified flowers but also after traveling there, found the New Mexico landscape and its natural objects a source of inspiration for her paintings. She painted churches, mountains, flowers, landscapes, and skulls which depicted the life around her in this southwestern climate.

10 In August of 1934, she visited Ghost Ranch, north of Abiquiu, for the first time and decided immediately to live there with her husband, who split his time between there and New York. The varicolored cliffs of Ghost Ranch inspired some of her most famous landscapes. Her husband Alfred Stieglitz died on July 13, 1946. She buried his ashes at Lake George and spent the next three years mostly in New York settling his estate, and moved permanently to New Mexico in 1949. In 1977, O'Keeffe wrote: ” The cliffs over there are almost painted for you—you think—until you try to paint them.” Among guests to visit her at the ranch over the years were Charles and Anne Lindbergh and photographer Ansel Adams. She often spoke of Ghost Ranch and Northern New Mexico as "Such a beautiful, untouched lonely feeling place, such a fine part of what I call the 'Faraway'.

11 She also collected rocks and bones from the desert floor and made them and the distinctive architectural and landscape forms of the area subjects in her work. If you did this around your yard or neighborhood, what kind of objects would you find to draw? How would you make everyday things or nature interesting by using a different perspective? She also went on several camping trips with friends, visiting important sites in the Southwest. When you get out into nature, you often see things differently than you do in the classroom or driving in a car.

12 A photo of O’Keefe Painting outdoors and more of O’Keefe’s work.

13 O’Keefe embraced the southwest, its landscape, and the lifestyle. She was a bit of a loner and loved to go outdoors and paint, and would often stay out for hours observing and painting her surroundings.

14 If you look closely, what do you see in the way that Georgia O’Keefe painted her flowers? What brush techniques did she employ? Look at the light and shadow of the details in her flowers. Look at the color variations of hue and contrast. If you were to really look at an objects details, how would you choose to paint or draw them?

15 Over the years, O'Keeffe enjoyed many accolades and honorary degrees from numerous universities. She became increasingly frail in her late 90s and moved to Santa Fe in 1984, where she died on March 6, 1986, at the age of 98. In accordance with her wishes, her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered to the wind at the top of Pedernal Mountain, over her beloved "faraway".

16 A famous singer, Dan Fogelberg, wrote a song about Georgia O’Keefe called “Bones in the Sky”. The link is attached if you want to play it for the older or younger grades, there are also book choices if you want to do those. Books are listed on the next slide and are in the Art Appreciation Drawer. Please be sure to check out and return. Link to “Bones In The Sky”. Be sure to play full screen:

17 Questions and Discussion: How did Georgia O’ Keefe see the world in a different way, from a different perspective? Read one of the books, Georgia’s Bones or Through Georgia’s Eyes. These are for the lower grades and are available in the art appreciation drawer. (Mrs. Ryder may have them as well- but not sure- you can check!). Remember to sign up for them! You can also show “Bones in the Sky”. Let’s talk about birds eye views and bug eye views. Most people see things from Birds eye views, but Georgia O’Keefe saw things from a Bug’s Eye View. (meaning if you were a bug on a flower, you would see things that looked enormous!) - like the flower petals. If you had to draw something from a ‘bugs eye view’, how would you do it? Georgia did not just draw flowers, she drew what SHE saw a flower as – sometimes just the inside – the details- in this way, she painted her interpretation. What do you think YOUR interpretation would be? She also collected things like skulls, rocks and bones and drew them. What would you collect to draw from your environment? TIME FOR THE ACTIVITIES!

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