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07.12.2016 - 26.03.2017
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) was a founder of American Modernism and a pioneer as an artist. The opportunities to see O’Keeffe in Europe are rare: her paintings are distributed around the leading US collections, where they have gained an iconic status. This retrospective now provides a view for the first time in Austria of O’Keeffe’s oeuvre, which encompasses seven decades. Among the exhibits is also Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 (1932), the most expensive picture by a woman artist ever auctioned.
O’Keeffe debuted in 1916, exactly a hundred years ago, in an artistic circle dominated by men surrounding her later husband, the photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The exhibition starts off with her lesser known early work, with its close affinity to Wassily Kandinsky’s “spiritual” abstraction. O’Keeffe’s monumental flower pictures of the 1920s, which under the influence of the writings of Sigmund Freud evoked strongly sexualising interpretations, are among her most popular subjects. Formal specifics like the sharp focus, the cutting-edge delineation and the close-up are a visual demonstration of O’Keeffe’s innovative transposition of photographic strategies into painting. The show underlines this artistic dialogue with a selection of photographs by Alfred, Ansel Adams and Paul Strand. O’Keeffe’s almost abstract late landscapes inspired by the bleak, endless desert of New Mexico embody the creation of “The Great American Thing”, a specific American art, and anticipate the art trends of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. The exhibition accentuates O’Keeffe’s singular position, assumed through her bridge-building between European Modernism and American post-war abstraction, also through her constant mediation between a relationship with nature and abstraction, between organic and geometric, feeling and de-personalisation.
The exhibition was organized by Tate Modern in cooperation with the Bank Austria Kunstforum and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Tanya Barson (Tate Modern)
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
05/05/2017 - 16/07/2017