Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe was born in 1887 in Wisconsin. She grew up on a farm where she helped her family by cooking, sewing, and growing vegetables.

When she was five, O’Keeffe went to school at a one-room schoolhouse. She didn’t like school but she did enjoy the private art lessons she took after school. She knew she wanted to be an artist.

O’Keeffe’s family moved to Virginia where O’Keeffe started high school. Everyone at her school loved her drawings.

After high school, O’Keeffe went to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. She enjoyed it there but she got very sick after only one year and had to stop going. When she finally felt better, over a year later, O’Keeffe decided to study in New York instead. In 1912, she began taking drawing classes at the University of Virginia. She learned to paint in many different styles before she developed her own way of painting.

When O’Keeffe had finished school, she taught art lessons. She started to experiment with abstract art. She liked to draw curving lines with lots of shading. She even made some abstract paintings based on the things she saw in nature, like Evening Star IV, shown below.
In 1916, a photographer named Alfred Stieglitz got a hold of some of O’Keeffe’s paintings. He showed them in his gallery without telling her. At first O’Keeffe was upset, but she forgave him. He helped make O’Keeffe’s art famous.

In 1918, O’Keeffe got sick again. While she recovered, she wrote letters back and forth with Stieglitz. The two fell in love and eventually got married.

O’Keeffe and Stieglitz bought a house on a lake where they lived in the summer time. O’Keeffe loved it there. She used an old barn as her studio and she painted many paintings that were inspired by her natural surroundings.

It was at the lake house that O’Keeffe began creating the paintings she is most known for. She painted close-ups of flowers in bright, bold colors. No one had ever painted close-ups of flowers before, but some photographers of the time were taking close-up photos of flowers.

From this point on, O’Keefe always painted subjects using strong colors. She simplified her subjects so that nothing remained except the most important parts. Click here to view more than 200 of O'Keeffe's paintings.

In the 1930s, O’Keeffe took some trips to New Mexico. She loved it so much that she eventually moved there. She painted lots of paintings of the mountains, the desert, and the adobe houses. She especially loved to paint pictures of animal skulls. Sometimes she even painted desert landscapes and skulls on the same canvases.

She continued to paint until she lost her eyesight. She died in 1986

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1 comment:

Peter said...

Very nice, the site you linked to! Definitely worth the visit!