Born in 1887, Georgia O'Keeffe was an American artist who painted nature in a way that showed how it made her feel. She is best known for her paintings of flowers and desert landscapes.
She played an important part in the development of modern art in America, becoming the first female painter to gain respect in New York's art world in the 1920s. Her unique and new way of painting nature, simplifying its shapes and forms meant that she was called a pioneer.
Georgia knew from the age of 12 that she wanted to be an artist. She went to art school but what she was taught there didn’t seem relevant to the way she wanted to paint. Then in 1912 she discovered the revolutionary ideas of an artist and designer called Arthur Wesley Dow. He emphasised the importance of composition – which means how you arrange shapes and colours.
As O’Keeffe explained: ‘His idea was, to put it simply, fill a space in a beautiful way’. This was a light-bulb moment for her and from then on she began to experiment with shapes, colours and marks.
Georgia met other artists who, like her, were experimenting with abstract art. Art in the 1920s was exciting. Artists didn’t just want to show how something looked but were using colours, shapes and brush-marks in unexpected ways to express meanings, ideas and feelings. This encouraged Georgia to develop her own unique style – a combination of abstract and realistic.
Georgia wanted to stay as close as possible to the remote landscape places she loved, she travelled around the desert drawing and painting. She battled the heat and heavy wind and camped out under the stars. Luckily she had favourite mobile studio with her – her car – which she’d specially adapted as a place to work!
Have you ever visited a landscape that has taken your breath away? Next time try putting those feelings across using shapes and colours and try, (as Georgia says) to ‘fill the space in a beautiful way’.
A Georgia O'Keeffe work, considered the most expensive painting by a woman, will be the centrepiece of a Tate exhibition celebrating the US artist.
O'Keeffe's Jimson Weed, White Flower No. 1 has been loaned to Tate Modern by a US gallery.
The painting broke records when it sold in 2014 at Sotheby's in New York for $44.4m (£28.8m).
The white flower painting is said by the Tate to show "all the expected characteristics" of O'Keeffe's work.
O'Keeffe, who died in 1986 at the age of 98, has become one of the most famous female artists through her trademark nature painting, particularly those of flowers.
ARTBURO Personalization & HERMÈS 2002-20 Bleu Brighton Bag & Georgia O'Keeffe White flower No.1