News / Arts & Entertainment

    Rare Art by Renowned American Artist Goes on Display

    Show highlights rarely seen abstractions by Georgia O'Keeffe

    Sky Above Clouds III/Above the Clouds III, 1963 "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for." Georgia O'Keeffe, American artist, 1887-1986
    Sky Above Clouds III/Above the Clouds III, 1963 "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for." Georgia O'Keeffe, American artist, 1887-1986

    Multimedia

    Georgia O'Keeffe is one of the most distinguished American artists of the 20th century. She is best known for her vibrant paintings of flowers, leaves, landscapes and other images in nature.

    Now, a new exhibit at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., features more than 100 paintings, drawings and watercolors by O'Keeffe and 12 photographic portraits of her taken by her late husband, famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz.

    But the highlight of the collection - which includes items dating from 1915 to the late 1970s - includes a rare selection of O'Keeffe's less familiar abstract art.

    American artist Georgia O'Keeffe, seen here in a portrait from 1918, is best known for her paintings of flowers and landscapes, but she was also a gifted abstract artist.
    American artist Georgia O'Keeffe, seen here in a portrait from 1918, is best known for her paintings of flowers and landscapes, but she was also a gifted abstract artist.

    Georgia O'Keeffe as abstract artist

    Georgia O'Keeffe is best known for her sensuous paintings of flowers and desert landscapes of the American southwest. But many people may not know that she was also a gifted abstract artist.

    The new exhibit features abstractions that O'Keeffe herself didn't exhibit in her own lifetime, says Elsa Smithgall, associate curator at The Phillips Collection.

    According to Smithgall, O'Keeffe broke into abstraction with a set of charcoal drawings that she created in 1915.

    This charcoal drawing from 1915 is part of a rare collection of abstractions featured in a Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.
    This charcoal drawing from 1915 is part of a rare collection of abstractions featured in a Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

    "They are exquisite gestural drawings, very organic in form, and no recognizable reference to a known subject," she says.

    Water colors and oils

    By the 1920s, O'Keeffe had moved on from pure abstract drawings to water colors and oil paintings of subjects that seem more familiar.

    But according to Smithgall, O'Keeffe continued to use abstraction as the foundation in all her artwork.

    "You're going to find in her work this constant back and forth between very purely abstract form and perhaps a flower or a leaf or a landscape," she says.

    Sexual overtones

    It was also during this period when critics described O'Keeffe's oil paintings as being sexually suggestive.

    While Smithgall acknowledges that some of O'Keeffe's forms do evoke sexual connotations, she emphasizes that the exhibition "is not about that."

    Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. IV, 1930 by Georgia O'Keeffe
    Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. IV, 1930 by Georgia O'Keeffe

    She adds that O'Keeffe herself passionately resisted the notion that her art was sexually suggestive and, in fact, made a concerted effort "to shift her focus in her work towards more recognizable subject matter as a way to try to steer the critics towards another kind of reading of her work."

    New Mexico - a new chapter

    Beginning in 1929, O'Keeffe started spending time in New Mexico where she felt more at home than she had in New York where her career had taken root. Her experiences in the vast open spaces of the New Mexico desert inspired her to move there permanently in 1949.

    According to Smithgall, it was a new chapter in her career:

    "She's very much responding to that ocean of space in New Mexico where they have this amazing clarity of light and very wonderful, breathtaking kind of exhilarating sensation that she feels there that is extremely inspiring to her, and it brings up a whole new body of subject matter," she says.

    Grey Blue & Black—Pink Circle, 1929- Gift of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation
    Grey Blue & Black—Pink Circle, 1929- Gift of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation

    It was during these transformative years when her paintings took on a different feel as well, says Smithgall.

    O'Keeffe started depicting flowers "increasingly large in format and increasingly greater in magnification and so you start to see a major change in her scale, in her viewpoint taking these unusual birds and bees-eye perspectives," she says.

    According to Smithgall, O'Keeffe created magnified images of her subject matter as a way of "inviting the viewer in." She wasn't copying an object so much as expressing how she felt about painting it, she says.

    Coming full circle

    By the late '50s and '60s, O'Keeffe's art turned once again to the pure abstractions of her earlier years.

    "This is not a work that you probably would see on the wall and say, 'Oh, yes, an O'Keeffe,'" says Smithgall, "so there's that surprising aspect to them."

    Abstraction White Rose
    Abstraction White Rose

    "What's so exquisite about them is that she has - with very spare compositions - created these exquisite forms that are extremely expressive and that do recall those earliest charcoal drawings in that respect," she says.

    From those early charcoal drawings to the huge, bold canvases of her later years, few would argue that the work of Georgia O'Keeffe has had a far-reaching influence on American art and culture, and continues to impress and inspire art lovers throughout the world.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs