Past Exhibitions

Georgia O’Keeffe: Nature and Abstraction

October 6, 2007 to January 13, 2008


Georgia O'Keeffe
Series 1, No. 4, 1918
oil on canvas
Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich
Gift of Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 1955
?Estate of Georgia O’Keeffe / Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus / SODRAC (2007)
Georgia O’Keeffe: Nature and Abstraction presents a remarkable survey of the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the legendary figures of twentieth-century art. The exhibition is comprised of a stunning selection of paintings that span the entirety of O’Keeffe’s career from 1918 to 1977. This presentation is the first solo exhibition of O’Keeffe’s work in Canada in more than fifty years. Through her landscape paintings and flower studies, the exhibition focuses on the central theme of O’Keeffe’s art — transforming nature into abstraction. This important grouping of paintings offers a distinct look at her consistent determination to re-interpret recognizable objects through painted abstractions that express the essential elements of form, colour and allusion. The dominant influence on O’Keeffe’s work in the 1930s and 1940s was the landscape of New Mexico, which she first visited in 1929 and where she spent almost every summer for the following 20 years, eventually settling there in 1949.

During her long and prolific career, O’Keeffe established herself as a major figure in American art, first as a member of the “Alfred Stieglitz Circle” of modern artists in New York including Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley and John Marin. Although O’Keeffe’s work is aligned with that of some of the major figures of twentieth century Modernism —both European and American—such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Ellsworth Kelly, she is renowned for steadfastly remaining true to her own unique vision amid the many shifting artistic trends of the time. Since her death in 1986, her importance, eminence and influence have continued to grow, establishing O’Keeffe as an artist of great significance.

The exhibition also includes an important selection of photographs of O’Keeffe taken early in her life by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, and images taken by Todd Webb of O’Keeffe later in life. This extraordinary presentation of paintings and photographs offers a rare opportunity to view the life and work of one of America’s foremost artists. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book co-published by Skira, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Vancouver Art Gallery, with essays by Yvonne Scott, Achille Bonito Oliva and Richard D. Marshall.

Co-organized by the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Richard D. Marshall.