Early Life
 Born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
 November 15, 1887
 Second of seven children
 Received art lessons at home
 Moved to Williamsburg Virginia at age 15
Early Years of Georgia O’Keeffe
 Studied at the Institute of Chicago (1905-1906)
 Studied at the Art Students league in New York (1907-
 Formed the art work - imitative realism
 Took a break from art for four years
 Taught art in 1915
What kinds of objects did O'Keeffe paint most often?
 O’Keeffe was drawn to natural objects such as
shells, trees, animal bones, and flowers.
Married Alfred Stieglitz
 Met Alfred Stieglitz in 1908
 Exhibited 10 of her charcoal pictures in 1916
 Married Alfred in 1924
 Alfred was 23 years older than Georgia
Another Picture
Later Years
 Georgia went to New Mexico in 1929
 Loved the scenery there
 Vacationed there every summer until Alfred died in
 Moved to New Mexico in 1949
 Failing eyesight forced her to stop painting
 Lived there until her death 1986
In Red Poppy, how does the artist focus attention on
the flower?
 O’Keeffe monumentalizes,
or magnifies, the flower so
that it is “larger than life.”
She also crops the image so
that it appears to be
bursting out of the frame.
Its intense, vibrant colors
and visually interesting
organic shapes take on a life
of their own.
When we study Red
Poppy, it seems as
though we are seeing
this familiar flower
for the first time.
How did O'Keeffe create compositions using natural
 One of her favorite techniques
was to monumentalize flowers
and other natural forms. She
changed their scale, enlarging
and cropping them until they
filled a large canvas. Often,
O’Keeffe would “zoom in” on a
small, intricate part of a flower –
such as its stamen – enlarging it
until it was no longer
As O'Keeffe worked on her Jack-in-the-Pulpit series,
how did the style of the paintings change?
 Although the first
painting in the series was
a realistic depiction of the
O’Keeffe’s style became
more abstract with each
of the five subsequent
paintings. In the last one,
O’Keeffe enlarged and
cropped the image so that
only the “jack” remained.
How has O'Keeffe used color in Jack-in-the-Pulpit IV?
What kind of mood does the combination of colors
 The artist uses the natural colors
of the flower, leaves, and sky.
Closely related blues and greens
are dark in value, capturing the
flower’s mysterious quality. The
deep purple of the flower itself
becomes almost black in some
areas, causing the bright focal
point of the club-shaped “jack” to
glow brightly in the center. The
larger-than-life wild-flower takes
on a primal quality suggesting
new life emerging from the earth.
What influence did the American Southwest have on
O'Keeffe's art?
 O’Keeffe drew inspiration from
the vivid colors, organic
(curved) shapes, and bright
light she found in the desert
sky and rolling hills. She
incorporate natural “found
objects” such as desert flowers
and sun-bleached animal
bones into many of her
O'Keeffe once said, "My paintings sometimes grow by
pieces from what is around." How might this statement
apply to Ram's Head with Hollyhock?
 O’Keeffe picked up the sunbleached skull during one of
her walks in the nearby
desert. Hollyhocks were
among the flowers that grew
in her vegetable garden.
The composition of Ram’s Head with Holly hock
“grew” from these natural objects, in which O’Keeffe
found a quiet, mysterious beauty.
In what kind of setting did the artist place Ram's Head
with Holly hocks?
 O’Keeffe “floated” these
objects over their natural
desert habitat of hills and
small, scrubby trees.
Although the hills looked soft
and rolling from a distance,
they were difficult to
“I had looked out on the hills for weeks and painted
them again and again,” said O’Keeffe. “I had climbed
and ridden over them - so beautifully soft, so difficult
when you get close up.”
What kinds of colors has O'Keeffe used in this work?
 The colors are those of the
desert sky and terrain:
tans, grays, reddishbrowns, whites. Pale yellow
in the center of the white
flower adds a touch of
subdued color in contrast
to the bleak, gray clouds.
What gives Ram's Head with Holly hock a mysterious,
dreamlike quality?
 The monumentalized ram’s
skull and white flower
appear to float over the
landscape below. They
appear to be a timeless
tribute to the desert that
O’Keeffe loved.
In Pelvis Series, Red and Yellow, is it immediately
apparent that we are looking at an animal bone?
 Also, the subject as a bone. This work is completely
abstract. The smooth, reddish-pink shapes are so
stylized that only the title reveals the subject as a bone.
What kind of geographical setting
appealed to Georgia O'Keeffe?
 O’Keeffe was drawn to natural objects such as
shells, trees, animal bones and flowers.
Music Pink and Blue
What was the inspiration for Sky Above Clouds?
 During a plane trip,
O’Keeffe looked out
the window and saw
rows of small, oval
clouds surrounded by
“negative spaces” of
blue sky.
What are the principles that are constant in O'Keeffe's
Emphasis on the land rather than sky
A frontal viewpoint
Horizontal bands of contrasting color
Distortion of scale towards monumentality
Flat even lighting and forms not hidden by shadows
Exclusion of anything made by man
A timeless quality
Fragments of details of larger forms
Elimination of details such as trees or erosion
Intensity of colors
Sculpture rounded sensual shapes.
 Scholastic Art Magazine
 Www.O’
References (continued)
 Www.wysiwyg://main.o’
 O’KEEFFE by Britta Benke
Watch Video
 Late Career of Georgia O’Keeffe
 Discover Education Streaming

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