The Bold Art and Life of Georgia O’Keeffe

Relationship with Alfred Stieglitz

While in New York, Georgia O’Keeffe had the chance to visit exhibitions of avant-garde artists such as Picasso, Matisse, and Cézanne at Gallery 291, owned by the photographer and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz. In a couple of years, he would become a central figure simultaneously in O’Keeffe’s life and career. 

In 1916, Stieglitz received some drawings by O’Keeffe and was incredibly impressed. Subsequently, he convinced O’Keeffe to move to New York, where they began a professional and personal relationship that ended only in 1946 with his death. Although Stieglitz supported and promoted her creative career, he also fueled erotic interpretations of O’Keeffe’s now famous flower paintings; the artist on the other hand was not happy with these speculations and started spending long periods of time traveling outside of New York in search of creative freedom. 

Life in the Desert

O’Keeffe first visited New Mexico at the end of the 1920s and the desert landscape deeply impacted her work. For the next 20 years, she would constantly return every summer. Eventually she moved permanently to Santa Fe in 1949, where she remained for the rest of her life.

The arid, sun-drenched areas surrounding her house and studio inspired some of the most well-known paintings of her prolific career. Mountains, rivers, and animal skulls were all depicted in compositions of intense colors and organic lines and elements. Much of the work done in New Mexico reflected not only the natural landscape but also the particular lifestyle of the area. It was a simple life built around the harsh conditions of the region.

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