The Arts

November 6, 2015

A Woman on Paper. Georgia O’Keeffe at the Art Museum of South Texas.

Georgia O'Keeffe

I cannot wait to admire still-life paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) considered the mother of American modernism. Her paintings will be part of a traveling exhibit titled “Eloquent Objects: Georgia O’Keeffe & Still-Life Art in New Mexico” opening October 16  through January 3rd, 2016 at the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi.

Art Museum of South Texas designed by Philip Johnson

Art Museum of South Texas designed by Philip Johnson

Soon after her death in 1986, the New York Times described her as “the undisputed doyenne of American painting and a leader, with her husband Alfred Stieglitz, of a crucial phase in the development as dissemination of American modernism.” Some have even said that without them two there would have been no American Modernism movement. If you have not seen the movie “Georgia O’Keeffe” about her life starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons, I highly recommend that you do.

Art enthusiasts have few opportunities to experience her work without traveling far, so this is an amazing opportunity. The Art Museum of South Texas is only 1 of 4 institutions in the entire nation to host this group exhibit that brings the Southwest much closer to us. Previous stops included the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Tacoma Art Museum and the Taylor Museum in Colorado Springs. In addition to O’Keeffe the exhibit features 26 important artists such as Marsden Hartley, Joseph Henry Sharp and Andrew Dasburg. The works are drawn from major museums and private collections from across the country, and is organized by Joseph S. Czestochowski, produced by International Arts ® and curated by Charles C. Eldredge, former Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and currently Hall Distinguished Professor of American Art at the University of Kansas.

Longevity gave O’Keeffe a chance to see her work flourish in her lifetime. In her paintings we observe her focus on recreating the natural landscape, especially of New Mexico, in a truly unmistakably American manner. Her paintings have been said to poses sensual qualities. In 1926 writer Blanche Matthias described her as “the woman who dares to paint as she feels, has become one of the magical artists of our time, but one of the most stimulatingly powerful.”

Georgia O’Keefe was born in Wisconsin in 1887. From an early age O’Keefe knew she wanted to become an artist. O’Keefe studied at the Chicago Art Institute under John Vanderpiel and the Art Students League in New York City with William Merritt Chase. Her desire to pursue her interest in painting and her own abstract style flourished while studying under Arthur Dow at Columbia Teachers College. She quickly rose as an exceptional artist and met renowned artists such as Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky considered the father of the abstract movement.

During a visit to New York City, O’Keeffe met photographer Alfred Stieglitz, owner of the prestigious 291 gallery. It was Stieglitz who upon discovering her work said; “finally a woman on paper!” The relationship between the two flourished from an exchange of personal letters about art and life to a romantic one. They were married in 1924. After Stieglitz death in 1946, O’Keeffe moved to Abiquiu, New Mexico where she found inspiration in the rugged landscaped and solidified her iconic motifs of flowers, skulls, mountains and rocks. She traveled extensively producing excellent paintings of newly discovered lands such as the Peruvian mountains and the Fuji Mountain in Japan.

Don’t miss the opportunity to appreciate Georgia O’Keeffe’s colorful artwork bestowed to us thanks to the following sponsors:

Kimberly and Steven Stockseth, A gift from Les Henne in memory of Linda Glessner, American Bank, The Prichard Family Foundation, the AKR Foundation, the Earl C. Sams Foundation, CITGO, The Coastal Bend Community Foundation, American Bank, City of Corpus Christi Arts and Cultural Commission, Humanities Texas, Texas Commission on the Arts. For additional information and admission costs please visit  artmuseumofsouthtexas.org.

Montgomery, Elizabeth. Georgia O’Keefe. New York City: Barnes & Noble Books, 1993 Print.

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About the Author

Nydia O
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" my life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts, nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most importantly, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .




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