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GEORGIA O'KEEFFE's iconic flowers

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11/16/2016 - 12:55
Georgia O’Keeffe. «Abstraction White Rose», 1927. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Gift of The Burnett Foundation and Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation © 2016 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) is internationally known for her magnificent depictions of flowers and New Mexico scenes and landscapes, a bastion of inspiration for the American for many years. After débuting as an artist a century ago in 1916, she was a pioneer of an art style that did not arrive until the 20th century and of which she become an icon, thanks to the purity and clarity of her representations.

Considered the legitimate founder of American Modernism, O’Keeffe earned her place of honour in the avant-garde art from the 1910s to the 1970s off her own back. The artist had her most productive period during these six decades, evolving from the abstraction of her first pieces to her later works, large-scale floral studies, painted as if observed under a large magnifying glass.

The Freudian theory that her flowers were but representations of female genitals was postulated by the first time in 1919 by Albert Stieglitz, the American photographer and gallery owner who most helped her to promote herself and who later became her husband. Not for nothing has the artist been considered as a painter of female sexuality, skilfully playing with the spectator’s perception and inviting them to lose themselves amongst the petals, textures and parts similar to the most intimate areas of the female anatomy.

Despite being classified as a figurative painter, many of her works suggest a certain abstract effect that she achieved by manipulating proportions to make some elements seem almost unrecognisable. In 1946 O’Keeffe lost her husband and three years later moved to live in her beloved New Mexico where she lived to the age of 98,...

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