Georgia O'Keeffe was born on a farm in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, in
1887. Throughout her life she revered nature--its changing life cycles,
beauty, delicacy, and harmony. As a young girl she loved to explore
the fields around her home. She decided when she was 12 years old
that she wanted to be an artist.
O'Keeffee took art classes with her sister. Her mother encouraged
her to become an art teacher. After high school O'Keeffe continued
to study art, first at the Art Institute of Chicago and then at
Columbia University in New York. One of her teachers, Arthur Wesley
Dow, taught her about the relationship of music to line and color.
O'Keeffee taught in Virginia and Amarillo, Texas, where in 1912,
she was supervisor for art in the public schools. While she was
living in Texas, a friend in New York showed some of O'Keeffee's
drawings to a respected photographer, gallery owner, and magazine
publisher named Alfred Stieglitz. The drawings depicted Texas landscapes.
However, they were abstract, expressing
the light and powerful beauty of the simple landscape. Stieglitz
thought the works were very original and modern
, and immediately wanted to exhibit them in his gallery. In 1916,
she decided to move to New York to continue painting. She had several
exhibitions in Stieglitz's gallery. The two were married in 1924.
By the early 1920s, O'Keeffe had become well known. She belonged
to a circle of American modernists, including Arthur Dove, Marsden
Hartley, and other artists. She painted many subjects, including
New York City skyscrapers, rural landscapes, and large flower paintings.
In 1929, O'Keeffe visited Taos, New Mexico, with artist friends
and was especially attracted to the stark, rugged country in the
American Southwest. She visited often and in 1945 moved to New Mexico.
She painted the desert and the animal bones she would collect on
walks near her home. When she was in her eighties, O'Keeffee began
working with clay. She continued to live and work in New Mexico
until her death in 1986 at age 98.
that looks as if it contains little or no recognizable or realistic
forms from the physical world. Focus on formal elements such as
colors, lines, or shapes. Artists often "abstract" objects by changing,
simplifying, or exaggerating what they see.
art history, this term refers to the philosophies of art made in
Europe and the United States during a period roughly from the 1860s
through the 1970s when certain artists began to take radical steps
away from traditional art in order to be deliberately different,
critical, and often dissenting from the dominant official taste.
Modern art or modernism is characterized by changing attitudes about
art, an interest in contemporary events as subjects, personal artistic
expression, and freedom from realism. Modernism can be seen as artists'
attempts to come to terms with urban, industrial, and secular society
that emerged during the 19th century in Western society.
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