Georgia O'Keeffe (SAIC 1905–06, HON 1967) pioneered modern art with her large-scale paintings of natural forms and flowers.
Georgia O’Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and studied at SAIC from 1905 to 1906. In 1916 O’Keeffe created a series of charcoal abstractions that Alfred Stieglitz was so struck by that he organized her first solo show in his famous 291 gallery in New York without her knowing. Stieglitz fell madly in love with O’Keeffe and they married in 1924.
Some of the popular works from her early period include Black Iris (1926) and Oriental Poppies (1928). A pioneer of modern art, O’Keeffe created large-scale paintings of natural forms and flowers at close range, as if seen through a magnifying lens.
O’Keeffe’s work received much acclaim and sold well. Her first visit to Taos, New Mexico in 1929 was the beginning of her love affair with the American Southwest. The region inspired such iconic works as Black Cross, New Mexico (1929) and Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses (1931). The Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Museum both held retrospectives of O’Keeffe’s work in the 1940s. In 1946, after Stieglitz died, O’Keeffe moved permanently to New Mexico and became known as a loner. O’Keeffe received an honorary doctorate from SAIC in 1967, and continued producing a prodigious amount of work until her death in 1986.