Georgia O’Keeffe was a legendary artist of the 20th century, who gave this world many stunning creations through her artwork. She was the most successful woman painter of her time. This ArtHearty article provides some fun and interesting facts about this acclaimed artist.
A Large Legacy
Georgia O’Keeffe had been painting for many years, and created many series of works that included a number of paintings in one collection. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the total number of paintings that she created in her lifetime goes to about 2029!
Georgia O’Keeffe was a very acclaimed artist of the early ’90s, who was most famous for her unusual and breathtaking depictions of flowers. Her style of painting involved painting the flowers in a close-up, as if seen from a magnifying glass. Some other popular things that she painted were animal bones, like the skull of a bull, the desert, for which she had a soft spot, trees, leaves, shells; in fact anything to do with nature. She particularly loved New Mexico and lived there for most of her life.
She was one of the most successful and acclaimed artists of her time. Moreover, she was known for painting in her own style instead of changing it according to the times. This made her all the more special. She knew right from childhood that she wanted to be an artist. She had received art lessons at home, and nobody had failed to recognize that she had real talent. She mastered the ‘art of art’ very easily, and went on to become a legendary artist. Given below are some more interesting facts about Georgia O’Keeffe.
Georgia O’Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. She had 6 other siblings, and was the second oldest. Her parents were dairy farmers. Her father Francis Calyxtus O’Keeffe was Irish, whereas her mother Ida (Totto) O’Keeffe was Hungarian. Georgia was named after her maternal grandfather, George Victor Totto.
Georgia O’Keeffe studied at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1905 to 1906, and at the Art Students League in New York from 1907 to 1908.
While at the Art Students League, she learned under the famous artist, William Merritt Chase.
After 4 years of giving up painting, she took up a course at the University of Virginia Summer School, and also worked as an art supervisor in a public school in Amarillo, Texas.
Georgia O’Keeffe’s art was exhibited for the very first time in 1916 by the famous photographer Alfred Stieglitz in his popular gallery, 291.
She was the first woman to be given an independent exhibition for her works by the Museum of Modern Art.
Georgia O’Keeffe and Stieglitz were married in 1924. He was 23 years her senior, and she was his second wife.
Her husband exhibited her work in his and many other galleries numerous times, which gained her a lot of fame and recognition.
Georgia O’Keeffe permanently moved to New Mexico after the death of her husband in 1946. She painted one of her most famous works, Summer Days, when she was there.
The northern part of the New Mexico desert is also called ‘O’Keeffe Country’ because of her stunning paintings of that area.
Over Georgia O’Keeffe’s lifetime, she created more than 200 paintings of flowers. A collection of her paintings named ‘Calla Lily’ sold for $25,000, which was the highest-paid amount at that time, for the works of an alive American artist.
Many times, she would take one object as the subject of her work, and create a series of paintings depicting the changes in that object over time. Many of these series would take decades to complete.
Georgia O’keeffe was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984 and the National Medal of Arts in 1985.
Her flower paintings were branded as ‘erotic’ by many people, and were said to greatly resemble the female form.
Her eyesight began to deteriorate as she grew older. She lost her central vision.
She stopped creating oil paintings around 1972, but still created works in charcoal and pencil.
With the help of Juan Hamilton, a young potter, Georgia O’Keeffe created many ceramic items like pots, and also a few watercolor paintings. He became her business manager, and remained so until her death.
She died on March 6, 1986, at Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was 98 years old.
These were a few fun facts about the life and works of the famous artist Georgia O’Keeffe. She was a legendary painter who was not afraid to follow her heart, even though her style was quite forward for her era, and created some beautiful masterpieces that the world loves even today.