Throughout her lifetime, Georgia O’Keeffe created more than 2,000 pieces of art – with her floral pieces being some of her most recognized. Her story spans across the United States – born in Wisconsin, attended school in Chicago and then New York, taught in South Carolina, a love affair that took her back to New York, and then, finally New Mexico. It was in the Southwest where O’Keeffe found an abundance of inspiration. It is no wonder that O’Keeffe is referred to as the “Mother of American Modernism.”
O’Keeffe enjoyed traveling alone and enjoyed the solace of her travels. She would drive her car, picking up stones, bones, and other pieces of inspiration. In the 1920’s while living in New York with her husband Alfred Stieglitz, six paintings of her Calla Lily sold for $25,000 which up to that point was the most expensive piece of art that had been sold at auction. It was during the 1920’s that her flower art became popular, and she created such masterpieces as Red Cana.
O’Keeffe’s passion and dedication to her work may have caused her to have a mental breakdown around 1933 – but after she recovered and left the hospital, she journeyed to Northern New Mexico and purchased property that came to be called “Ghost Ranch.” From that point forward, O’Keeffe’s work began to transition towards a western feel – and her paintings took on the reds and browns of the Southwestern US terrain. Cow skulls and flowers became common, accompanied with a desert background.
Some of her other famed art pieces involving flowers include “Black Iris” and “Oriental Poppies”. Even today, her work continues to inspire people around the world. If you are passing through New Mexico, you can see the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. The museum website is http://www.okeeffemuseum.org/.
Georgia O’Keeffe’s career in art spanned seventy years and included making art and assisting with the development of American modernism. She had a crucial role as an art pioneer and her works have influenced many artists. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum was the first museum in the US dedicated to a female artist, and its research center helps sponsor modern American art scholars.