1887 - 1986 · United States
Prolific and innovative, Georgia O’Keeffe was a twentieth-century American painter, pioneer of American modernism and one of the first female painters acclaimed worldwide. Primarily known for her oil paintings, O’Keeffe also worked with watercolour, charcoal, and clay, especially in her youth and old age. Pushing the boundaries between figuration and abstractionism, she chose nature as the subject of exploration, in particular flowers and New Mexico desert features, such as bones, skulls, and rocks, which became icons in the American artistic landscape. She independently pursued her artistic research working with simplified shapes, lines, and vibrant colours and, through clever usage of magnification, enlarged the tiniest details making them appear abstract, even though derived from observation. After her art studies and a brief career as an art teacher, O’Keeffe moved to New York and joined the city’s dynamic art scene through the acquaintance with Alfred Stieglitz, photographer, gallery owner and, later, her husband.
In 1929 the artist travelled for the first time to New Mexico which became her dearest place of inspiration and solace, enough to permanently move and live there until her death in 1986. Her work has been celebrated with several exhibitions and, in 1946, she became the first female artist to be the subject of a retrospective at MoMA. Nowadays, O’Keeffe’s works can be found in the collections of prestigious institutions, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in New Mexico. In 2014 O’Keeffe’s “Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1” (1932) was sold for just above $44 million dollars, setting the world auction record for an artwork created by a female artist.