Largest O'Keeffe exhibition a huge success at Tate
Tate Modern opens largest exhibition of Georgia O'Keeffe outside the US. Matilda Hickson was amongst the first to visit
Georgia O'Keeffe - Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico / Out Back of Marie's II, 1930 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Gift of The Burnett Foundation © Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
On the 6th July 2016 Tate Modern opened what it is calling the 'most significant' exhibition of modernist painter Georgia O'Keeffe ever to be held outside of America. It features over 100 major works from more than 60 lenders across 23 US States and offers a wonderful opportunity for European visitors to see such a huge number of her paintings.
The exhibition includes many works that are being shown in the UK for the first time. These include New York Street with Moon 1925 - O'Keeffe's first painting of New York which marked a deliberate change in direction from her earlier paintings and The Black Place IV 1944 which has rarely been seen on public view anywhere in the world and is from a series that O'Keeffe made in New Mexico.
This exhibition is the first showing of her work in Britain for over 20 years and is arranged chronologically so it is easy to appreciate her change in style over the years from her early abstract experiments to her late works with all in-between. It also marks a century since O'Keeffe first showed her work in New York in 1916. Widely recognised as a founding figure of American modernism, O'Keeffe gained a central position in leading art circles between the 1910 and the 1970s and the exhibition covers the 60 years that she was at her most productive.
The paintings are arranged chronologically and start with her earliest abstract work, progressing to her time in New York, and including a room dedicated to her professional and personal relationship with Alfred Stieglitz (1864 - 1946) a photographers, modern art promoter and her husband. It is said that Stieglitz increased O'Keeffe's access to her most current developments in avant-garde art, she employed these influences and opportunities to her own objectives. There is a selection of photographs by Stieglitz, including portraits and nudes of O'Keeffe as well as other key avant garde figures at the time, such as Marsden Hartley (1877 -1943) and John Marin (1870 - 1953). Further rooms include her still life paintings (including her flower representations and Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1 1932 (below, right) which is said to be one of her most iconic flower paintings), her time in New Mexico and her final abstract canvasas.
One of O'Keeffe's persistent source of inspiration was nature and landscape, which she painted both as figurative and as abstract works. She moved to New Mexico and lived there for six months of each year and during that time she was fascinated not only with the landscape but the dried bones that she found there which form a series of paintings.
This exhibition has had a lot of positive feedback and for good reason. It is a well curated and it is fantastic to be able to see such a large range of paintings and to get a brilliant sense of this fantastic artist.
(Images above: Alfred Stieglitz - Georgia O'Keeffe, 1918, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles © The J. Paul Getty Trust and Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1, 1932, Photography by Edward C. Robison III © 2016 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/DACS, London)
Tate Modern 6 July - 30 October 2016
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