Who Was Georgia O'Keeffe?

Who Was Georgia O'Keeffe?

Georgia O'Keeffe, the "Mother of American modernism", was an artist, known for paintings like New Mexico landscapes, enlarged flowers, and New York Skyscrapers.

She lived a very mysterious unique life and was very selective about choosing friends and always surrounded herself with creative and artistic people.

Early life of Georgia O'Keeffe

On November 15, 1887, Ida and Francis O'Keeffe gave birth to their second child Georgia. Georgia's mother Iva was a very ambitious lady, but did not follow her artistic ambitions.

Perhaps it is the reason that she never treated her children properly. As a result, Georgia came close to her father. Since childhood, she was quite mature and was often called precocious. Sadly however, she was sexually abused by her father, elder brother and this is one of the main reason behind her unconventional behaviors that were not at all accepted by others.

Georgia belonged to an unconventional family having mixed beliefs and practices. Also throughout her life, the women around her were always self-confident and strong.

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Education and career

Georgia studied art at the Art School of Chicago from 1905 to 1906 and she secured the first position in the class.

For her oil painting Dead Rabbit, she won a scholarship in 1908. Failing to continue her studies Georgia decided to work as an artist and in 1908 she joined a job as a commercial artist in Chicago, and it is believed that this created the foundation of her career.

Eventually, Georgia started teaching in many institutions like the University of Virginia, public schools in Amarillo, Teachers College of Columbia University, etc. Eventually, Georgia started growing as an artist and she helped form the American modernism movement. As an artist, Georgia got inspired by many artists and photographers around the world.

In the initial days of her career, she was greatly inspired by the works of Arthur Dove, one of the leading modernist artists of that time. His works involved unconventional works which were not taught in art schools at that time.

Georgia was also a great admirer of his pastel and abstract paintings. Arthur Dove also used bold vibrant colors in his paintings which attracted Georgia to his works.


Georgia's unique style paintings

Though Georgia got inspired by many artists and photographers around the world, she always followed her creativity and vision in her artworks. She always tried to use her own experiences to create her on magic on the canvas.

The following are some of the special features of Georgia's art that made her artworks stand out: She loved to explore the forms and shapes of nature and use that in her works.

Another interesting feature of Georgia's painting is that she used to take inspiration from her surroundings. She took inspiration from the adobe houses in which she used to live in New Mexico.

Taking inspiration from these houses she painted simple things with gently rounded corners. Georgia also took inspiration from rivers. This was evident from the fact that the line in her paintings was always curvy. Georgia made a very unique combination of abstraction and realism in her paintings. Her paintings have very clean and distinguishable shapes.

For example her painting called Newyork and the moon, which depicted Newyork's urban landscape.

She made larger-than-life paintings of flowers as she wanted to make people look at things as she did. Moreover, Georgia loved to experiment with scale, and hence in most of her paintings, she kept the foreground much larger.

To make abstract compositions she used photography techniques like zooming and cropping. Georgia always used flat colors in her painting to emphasize the shape of the subject and not to give any three-dimensional effect to the pictures.

One of the most interesting facts about her paintings is that she never made use of human figures in her paintings. To express her feelings on canvas she used nature or her surroundings.

The idea behind Georgia O'Keeffe's flowers

The idea behind Georgia O'Keeffe's flowers

The flower paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe were famed for their massive scale. During her lifetime, she painted around 2000 total works, including around 200 depictions of flowers.

The supersized blooms are more than just a pretty sight; they also have profound significance. Flowers symbolize feminism, even if they don't always symbolize nature. Critics lauded her works, too, because she often depicted concepts that were ahead of their time.

Georgia's paintings embodied the fusion of femininity, love, and sensuality. The female form is often assumed to be depicted in Georgia's flower paintings due to the fact that she only ever created nontraditional pieces. She intended to challenge conventional ideas about naked art.

Awards and recognition

O'Keeffe received an honorary degree of "Doctor of Fine Arts" in 1938 from The College of William & Mary. Georgia was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and she was part of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1968. In 1971 at Bryn Mawr College, she received the M. Carey Thomas Award. In 973, Harvard University presented her with an honorary degree.

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