Interior: Flower & Animal Scull - Subjects she painted
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Georgia O’Keeffe Snyopsis Breviate
Georgia O’Keeffe is one of the most important and original artists of the 20th century. Associated with the American Southwest, where she found inspiration, and particularly New Mexico, where she settled later in life, O’Keeffe is renowned for her ability to invest biomorphic forms with abstract beauty, using subjects such as flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones and landscapes. Her style is typified in such paintings as “Black Iris” (1926) and “Cow's Skull, Red, White and Blue” (1931). O’Keeffe was born in 1887 on a Wisconsin dairy farm. Determined from an early age to be a painter, she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1904 to 1905 and the Art Students League of New York from 1907 to 1908, after which she supported herself as a commercial artist and by teaching art. Against her wishes, a friend in New York showed her work to photographer Alfred Stieglitz, a central figure in introducing modern artists in the US. He first exhibited her work in 1916 at his 291 Gallery. Although he was 23 years her senior and despite their differences (he loved the city and limelight, she enjoyed privacy and the country), they married in 1924, beginning one of history's great creative partnerships. Some of Stieglitz' best work was of O'Keeffe, his muse, and in turn he promoted and encouraged her art throughout his life. O’Keeffe began to spend summers alone in New Mexico, which she adored for its remoteness and scenery. After Stieglitz died in 1946, she moved there permanently. O'Keeffe painted her best-known works in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, but she remained an active painter into the 1980s. Her later works frequently celebrate the clear skies and desert landscapes of New Mexico. “Summer Days”, from 1936, was one of her favorite paintings. When a museum hesitated at the $400,000 price she asked, she sold the painting to designer Calvin Klein for one million dollars. A retrospective exhibition of her art held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1970 assured her reputation as one of the most original and important artists in modern American painting. At the age of 84, she began to lose her vision and stopped painting in 1972. Juan Hamilton, a young potter, appeared at her ranch in 1973 looking for work. She hired him for a few odd jobs and soon employed him full time. He became her closest confidante, companion, and business manager until her death in 1986 at the age of 98. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe opened in 1998 to celebrate her life and art.