Author(s): Barbara Buhler Lynes; Russell Bowman
Georgia O'Keeffe was one of America's preeminent artists and one of the first to experiment with abstract form, though she never abandoned her deep response to and observation of nature. An enormously popular artist, she became identified and respected as an independent American spirit through both her art and her life. At the time of her death in 1986, Georgia O'Keeffe owned more than half of the approximately 2,000 works she had produced during the eighty years she was active as an artist: some 400 works in oil, charcoal, pastel, pencil, and watercolor, as well as more than 700 sketches. For various reasons, she had always kept a portion of her art out of the public eye and these works were not published, exhibited, or available for purchase during her lifetime. Among the works that had been exhibited and sold over the years, some were repurchased by O'Keeffe as they became available. This book explores for the first time the significance of O'Keeffe's collection of her own work. Approximately 75 seminal works, dating from about 1910 through the 1960s and reproduced in full color, document the range and quality of the art that O'Keeffe either chose to retain in her estate or consciously distributed to institutions in her lifetime and as bequests. It reveals her thinking in relation to her oeuvre, providing a unique perspective from which to understand O'Keeffe as artist and collector. The book accompanies an exhibition organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the principal recipients to date of art from the O'Keeffe estate. The exhibition coincides with the opening of the Milwaukee Art Museum's major addition designed by noted Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.