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Tent Door at Night (1916)

Georgia O'Keeffe


 

       
 

The ART of

ABSTRACTION

 
 

Georgia O'Keeffe

   

 

  

 

"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

 

A delightful new exhibition Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction opens at the Whitney Museum September 17, and showcases O'Keeffe's abstract work, paintings often overlooked with the historical emphasis on her familiar representational paintings (flowers, skulls, bones, desert landscapes).  One realizes that abstraction is really the ordering principle in her work, a compositional basis for her objective paintings.  Interestingly, repeated Freudian interpretations of her work by critics vexed the artist who instead saw in them a reverence for nature's inspiring beauty.  The show will include some of the famous photographic portraits of O'Keeffe by her long-time companion (and later, husband), the photographer and impresario Alfred Stieglitz, as well as a selection of letters from the voluminous correspondence between the two.

 

O'Keeffe's 'abstract period' lasted roughly from 1915 to 1930 and picked up again after the mid-1940's.  Tent Door at Night (1916), above, in watercolor: simplicity - a few melodious, wavy lines, curtains parting the night air or sails in the midnight blue.  Black, blue, and light gray combine to represent the infinite night and one lone beautiful tent, and can just as easily be viewed as a confluence of rivers or simply color on color, abstraction at its most wondrous.  O'Keefe said, "The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can clarify in paint."

 

A new movie premieres on Lifetime Television September 19, titled simply Georgia O'Keeffe, with Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons, an electrifying duo that starred opposite each other earlier this year in another story about love and art, the Broadway play Impressionism.  The movie traces O'Keeffe and Stieglitz's life together, a passionate relationship between two sometimes temperamental artistic geniuses.  A story that spans O'Keeffe's determined search for independence, Stieglitz's later dalliance with the younger Dorothy Norman, and O'Keeffe's growing dominance in the art world and her commitment to her work.  The film also documents the difficulties that O'Keeffe's fame caused for a man used to being the center of attention, and her move West to New Mexico.  Stieglitz and O'Keeffe wrote to each other, sometimes several times a day, and a 2-volume edition of the letters will be available shortly.  O'Keeffe is certainly having a revival of sorts! 

 

See: Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction, Whitney Museum 

 

See: The Lifetime movie: Georgia O'Keeffe, September 19.

 


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Georgia O'Keeffe 1918, Alfred Stieglitz

Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

 


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