Friday, March 16, 2012

O'Keeffe, Georgia

Oil on canvas
36 x 30 in. (91.44 x 76.2 cm)
Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Georgia O'Keefe (1887 - 1986), an American original, was an independent and unique artist who painted boldly colored still-lifes and haunting landscapes using a synthesis of the abstract and the representational.
She hovered between representation and abstraction throughout her long career. These over-scale poppies seductively reveal their inner beauty and proclaim themselves a generative force of nature.

At the age of 84, she began to go blind, eventually retaining only peripheral vision. She did her last unassisted oil painting in 1972. The next year, a young ceramic artist, Juan Hamilton, arrived at her door to offer his assistance as a handyman. He became her controversial assistant, companion, and representative for her remaining years.
In 1984, in failing health, O'Keeffe moved to Santa Fe to live with Juan Hamilton and his family. The next year she died, leaving most of her estate to Juan Hamilton, which prompted a legal suit by O'Keeffe's family. Hamilton eventually agreed to turn over more than two-thirds of his inheritance to the museums and institutions in her original will. In 1997, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum opened in Santa Fe, with its first exhibition curated by Juan Hamilton. It is the first art museum dedicated to the work of an internationally acclaimed woman artist.