Georgia O'Keeffe

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Georgia O?Keeffe in Abiquiu, New Mexico, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1950
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Georgia O?Keeffe in Abiquiu, New Mexico, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1950

Georgia O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887March 6,1986) was an American artist born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

O'Keeffe is chiefly known for her landscapes and paintings of desert flowers, which are often interpreted as yonic symbols. Her mature style stressed contours and subtle tonal transitions, which often transformed the subject into a powerful abstract image.

O'Keeffe studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students' League in New York City. She began teaching in the public schools in Amarillo, Texas in 1914. In 1916 started teaching at Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina.

While in South Carolina, a friend showed some of O'Keeffe's drawings to photographer and art gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz. Impressed by the drawings, Stieglitz began negotiations to display her work and she allowed him to exhibit some of them. Stieglitz was especially impressed with O'Keeffe's interpretations of landscapes in the American West.

In 1916, Stieglitz arranged for O'Keeffe to move to New York City and secured a place for her to live. Over the next few years O'Keeffe and Stieglitz fell in love, and Stieglitz and his wife divorced. In 1924, O'Keeffe and Stieglitz married.

During her years in New York City, O'Keefe produced many paintings, including urban and architectural images. With Stieglitz's connections in the arts community of New York, O'Keefe's work received a great deal of attention and commanded high prices. Yet O'Keeffe tired of the scene in New York and spent increasing amounts of time in the west. Stieglitz, many years older than O'Keeffe and often in ill health, was uncomfortable with travel. Her trips west gave her the solitude she required to pursue her art.

O'Keeffe spent much of her time in Taos, New Mexico, and when Stieglitz died in 1946, she took up permanent residence there, living in Taos or Santa Fe until her death in 1986. Her home was in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

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