The majority of people know about Georgia O’Keeffe’s large paintings of flowers. They’re well-known and have been reproduced on posters and items ranging from mugs to jewelry and more. Although you might be thinking, “Oh, I’ve seen her work before,” it’s worth taking advantage of this opportunity to look at the original work. But, if you go to her exhibit on display at The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), prepare to see more than just blooms. Explore some Facts About Georgia O’Keeffe below!
The American artist’s retrospective show extends over six years and includes more than 80 pieces of artwork from an artist among the top contemporary artists of 20th-century art. This is a bit surprising, as it marks the first time a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition of this magnitude has ever been held in Canada, which is the sole of her work.
We were taken on an in-depth tour of the exhibit by Georgiana Uhlyarik, the Associate Curator. We learned many more fascinating details regarding Georgia O’Keeffe and her work. “It was truly exhilarating to walk into each crate and be awed by the sensational feeling of beauty and then become overwhelmed with the sensitivity and vision she had since the beginning. It was a great source of inspiration throughout the rest of their lives,” said Uhlyarik.
Facts About Georgia O’Keeffe
1. Famous flower paintings constitute just 10 percent of her art. The remainder includes skyscrapers, landscapes, nature, and bones. Experimental abstract was the place where she began and ended her career.
2. The year was the 100th anniversary today in April when Georgia O’Keeffe had her first solo show in New York, and her career was launched.
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3. At the beginning of her career, O’Keeffe was a formidable and clear vision. She received a high level of education in Chicago, New York, and Virginia. She was an artist for commercial purposes and prepared to become an art teacher. However, she started (for her own sake) exploring and erased all her technical education, saying that she didn’t wish to copy what others had done. She wanted to discover ways to express patterns, compositions, and lines exactly the way she wanted and that nobody else had ever done.
4. She has created some drawings in charcoal and then sent them to a person from New York. Without asking permission, this friend decides to send these drawings and send them to photographer Alfred Stieglitz. He immediately becomes interested in O’Keeffe’s work and her work. He, without consent, hangs her work along with the other artists at an exhibit at Gallery 291. The time was when all the artists in the contemporary art scene were present and exhibited, such as Matisse and Cezanne.
5. From 1918, O’Keeffe has decided to pursue her art exclusively, and at a very early stage, her work is well-received and is well-reviewed. The winter months were mostly spent with her in New York, but the summer months were spent in Lake George. According to him, the curator claims that this was a pivotal period in the life of O’Keeffe. This was when the study of her work was not extensive.
There has only recently been an interest in finding out more about her time in Lake George. O’Keeffe was known to be adamant about the greenness of Lake George. Many took this as an indication that this was not a significant period in her career, but in reality, she was a regular visitor to Lake George every summer. She set up a studio in the area and named the place “Shandy,” and was exposed to the natural world. In this studio, she planted her first petunias, and they were among the very first blooms she painted.
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6. The only painting O’Keeffe ever did of Canada is included in this exhibit. In 1932, she painted Gaspe Peninsula. O’Keeffe said, “I would never have left Canada if it wasn’t so cold!” and she claimed that she did that she was in June.
7. O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 is her most famous work. It was displayed at the White House during President George Bush’s time in office. The huge-scale single flower became the most expensive piece auctioned by female artists. Sotheby’s auctioned it off for $44.4 million (US) in 1994.
8. O’Keeffe was also very specific about how her work was the frames she used. There are inscribed on the reverse of her paintings that describe the frame’s shape in detail. If you view the Eggplant painting, the frame description mentions black lacquer, and there are no seams visible. It was also mentioned that Jimson Weed/White was the painting. Flower No. 1. Laura Bush had altered the frame to add a hint of gold to a celebration.
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9. O’Keeffe, along with her husband, Stieglitz, wrote more than 25,000 pages of letters written in love to one another.
10. She didn’t sign her work and didn’t expect people to recognize them.