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16 of the Most Famous Paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’ Keeffe, a famous American painter was regarded as the mother of American Modernism because of the unique themes and symbolism her paintings focused upon. She was renowned for her over-sized flowers, beauteous landscapes of New Mexico and plush skyscrapers of New York (made between 1925 and 1929).

Georgia O’ Keeffe

Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe in a Nutshell

Full Name Georgia O’Keeffe
Birth 15th November 1887
Nationality American
Death 6th  March 1986
Inspiration Arthur Wesley Dow, Wassily Kandinsky
Periods American modernism, Modernism,  Abstract art, Contemporary art, Abstract expressionism, Precisionism,

The works of Arthur Wesley Dow who focused on interpreting subjects rather than copying something inspired Keeffe to the fullest compelling her to implement the theme of abstraction in her paintings. She began to work as a full-fledged artist on moving to New York upon Alfred Stieglitz insistence whom she married later. She died at 98, post which the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum had been set up.

List of Best Paintings by Georgia of Keeffe

1. Jimson Weed

Georgia O Keeffe Flower Paintings

Georgia O’ Keeffe Flower Painting

Completed in: 1936
Style: Floral Motif
Measurements: 180 cm × 212 cm
Location: Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis
Medium: Oil on linen painting

One of Keeffe’s magnificent flower paintings, this one depicts four large jimson weed blossoms in the shape of a pinwheel. Simplified colors teamed with a rhythmic play of light and shade enhances the freshness of the flowers. Keeffe possessed an infinite fondness for these flowers irrespective of its toxic seeds. However, this work was commissioned by Elizabeth Arden, cosmetic magnate, who proposed to hang this painting in the exercise room of her new salon to encourage and boost her client’s energy. Sold at an auction by the Georgia O’ Keeffe Museum, this painting obtained a price of $44,405,000.

2. Black Iris

Georgia O Keeffe Flowers

Georgia O’ Keeffe Flowers Painting

Completed in: 1926
Style: Floral Motif
Measurements: 91.4 cm × 75.9 cm
Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Medium: Oil on canvas

Also known as Black Iris III, this is another of Keeffe’s flower paintings, though linked with a lot of controversies. Linda Nochlin, an art historian, interpreted this painting to signify the female genitalia metaphorically. However, Keeffe rejected such claims saying that such meanings were derived by those looking at it though she had not given such interpretations as such.

3. Blue

Georgia O Keeffe Paintings

Georgia O’ Keeffe Painting Blue

Completed in: 1916
Measurements: 40.3 cm × 27.9 cm
Location: Brooklyn Museum
Medium: Watercolors

This is the name collectively given to Keeffe’s series of four paintings centered around the theme of abstraction. The second painting in the series, suggests her love for music as the shape represents the curves seen in the violin. The pattern of this painting reflects Kandinsky’s influence on Keeffe.

4. My Shanty, Lake George

Lake George Paintings by Georgia O Keeffe

Lake George Painting by Georgia O’ Keeffe

Completed in: 1922
Style: Pastoral
Measurements: 51 cm x 68.9 cm
Location: The Phillips Collection
Medium: Oil on canvas

This is a pictorial representation of Lake George where she had spent a considerable period, between 1918 and 1934. The shanty shown in the painting is said to be Keeffe’s studio which has been presented beautifully in solid colors but given a subdued appearance. The pink and orange flowers, green tree and grass as well as the curved structure of the blue hills just above the shanty have been ecstatically presented. The triangular shape in the gable’s roof is said to have a spiritual meaning, where the triangle is known to represent the soul. This approach of Keeffe shows that Kandinsky’s technique of spiritual symbolism may have inspired her.

5. Oriental Poppies (Red Poppies)

Georgia O Keeffe Red Poppy

Georgia O’ Keeffe Red Poppy Painting

Completed in: 1928
Style: Modernism
Measurements: 101.6 cm × 76.2 cm
Location: Weisman Art Museum
Medium: Oil on canvas

Even referred to as Red Poppies, it shows two of the flowers from a close angle. The big flowers with vibrant colors are presented in such a way that they seem to explode on canvas, also giving them a sensual touch. The lack of a background compels the viewers to focus their attention upon the middle of the flowers directly.

6. Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue

Cow Skull Georgia O Keeffe Best Paintings

Cow Skull Georgia O’ Keeffe Painting

Completed in: 1931
Style: Abstract art
Measurements: 101.3 cm x 91.1 cm
Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Medium: Oil on canvas

The skull of a cow is presented in the foreground with a black vertical stripe below. While two vertical white and blue stripes are seen on the sides, the outer border is marked in red. Keeffe could have possibly followed the footsteps of the other musicians, painters, and artists of American descent and presented this portrayal in a bid to look for a theme suited for the Great American novel since the colors on the American flag is seen throughout. The withered cow’s skull also highlights the presence of a Christian theme depicting Christ crucified on the cross.

7. Sky Above Clouds IV

Sky Above Clouds IV  Georgia O Keeffe Art

Sky Above Clouds IV  Georgia O’ Keeffe Art

Completed in: 1965
Style: Abstract art
Measurements: 2.44 m x 7.32 m
Location: Art Institute of Chicago Building
Medium: Oil paint

Belonging to the series of cloudscape art which she produced during the second half of the 1960s, this one is a product of Keeffe’s imagination from what she saw outside her window during her journey by airplane. Being enamored by the beauty of the moving clouds, she puts her experience on canvas portraying white, puffy clouds just like a blanket against the background of a blue sky. The presentation of the clouds stretching to infinity suggests the element of spirituality in the painting.

8. An Orchid

Georgia O Keeffe Paintings Flowers

Georgia O’ Keeffe Painting Flowers

Completed in: 1941
Measurements: 70.2 cm x 55.2 cm
Location: Museum of Modern Art, New York
Medium: Oil on canvas

This is another significant painting of Keeffe, where an orchid is presented from a close up without any background. Like most of her flower paintings, this one too is said to have Freudian touch and evoke a sensual appeal. However, like always she has denied any sexual or erotic associations to her flower paintings.

9. A Sunflower from Maggie

Georgia O Keeffe Sunflower

Georgia O’ Keeffe Sunflower Painting

Completed in: 1937
Measurements: 40.64 cm x 50.8 cm
Location: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Medium: Oil on canvas

Unlike her other flower paintings, this one has not been highly enlarged or presented abstractly. There is also an orange-pink background wonderfully contrasted with the green leaves and florets. The Maggie, as the name of the painting goes, is referred to Keeffe’s friend, Margaret Johnson, who lived close to her.

10. The Lawrence Tree

Paintings By George O Keeffe

The Lawrence Tree Painting By O’ Keeffe

Completed in: 1929
Measurements: 78.74 cm x 101.6 cm
Location: Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut
Medium: Oil on canvas

This painting shows a huge ponderosa pine in the D.H Lawrence Ranch, New Mexico, where Keeffe had once stayed with a wealthy American, Mabel Dodge Luhan, who was an art patron, also instrumental in bringing the modernists to Taos art colony. Keffee painted the tree as she reclined on a bench and looked at the night sky above. It is because of this that the painting can be hung in varied ways and looked from different angles.

11. The Flag

The Flag O Keeffe Georgia Paintings

The Flag Georgia O’ Keeffe Painting

Completed in: 1918
Measurements: 30 cm x 22 cm
Location: Milwaukee Art Museum
Medium: Water color and graphite on paper

O Keeffe painted the Flag in 1918 when she was recuperating in San Antonio in a ranch owned by her friend, from a bout of influenza that had killed many then. This painting portrays a wretched and withered flag, lacking all the stars and stripes it was previously embedded with, fluttering aimlessly, smeared in blood. Through this work of art, Keeffe intends to express her trauma and discontent against the brutality of the First World War as her brother also had been sent to distant lands to fight.

12. Black White and Blue

Black White and Blue Painting by Keeffe

Black White and Blue Painting by O’ Keeffe

Completed in: 1929
Style: Abstract Art
Measurements: 121.9 cm x 76.2 cm
Location: National Gallery of Art
Medium: Oil on canvas

This was painted at a crucial point when she was away from her husband for some time and lived in New Mexico. She began to infuse religious symbolism in her paintings, and this artwork was a perfect example of Keeffe’s new approach.

13. Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. IV

Jack in the Pulpit No. IV  Georgia o Keeffe Best Paintings

Jack in the Pulpit No. IV  Georgia O’ Keeffe Best Painting

Completed in: 1930
Style: Precisionism
Measurements: 101.6 cm x 76.2 cm
Location: Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe
Medium: Oil on canvas

Being immensely fascinated by these herbaceous plants of North America, this was a part of the six Jack-in-the-Pulpit paintings sketched by Keeffe in 1930. The spadix has been given a magnified view against a dark purple interior. The element of sensuality is present here too.

14. From the Faraway, Nearby

From the Faraway, Nearby Art of Keeffe

From the Faraway, Nearby Art of O’ Keeffe

Completed in: 1938
Style: Pastoral
Measurements: 91.4 cm x 101.9 cm
Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Medium: Oil on canvas

This painting too has a sense of abstraction, and its title conveys a sense of loneliness and longing suggesting Keeffe’s emotional state of mind.

15. Light Coming on the Plains

Light Coming on the Plains Georgia O Keeffe Original Paintings

Light Coming on the Plains Georgia O’ Keeffe

Completed in: 1917
Style: Oil on canvas
Measurements: 76.2cm  x 91.44 cm
Location: West Texas State Normal College in Canyon, Texas
Medium: Oil on canvas

This is a series of three paintings created by Keeffe, bearing testimony to her magnificent work of art. She enjoyed the beauteous scenery of the plains of Texas that she enjoyed during her walking sprees. The sunrise, sunset, and moonrise which she was floored by were put into her canvas. She has not depicted a general view of sunrise but has portrayed it differently by adding dashes of indigo blue against the background of the rising sun. The theme of abstraction is seen in all the three paintings with the first, two being lighter than the third one.

16. Black Cross

George O Keeffe Black Cross

Georgia O’ Keeffe Black Cross

Completed in: 1929
Measurements: 99.1 cm x 76.2 cm
Location: The Art Institute of Chicago
Medium: Oil on canvas

During her visit to New Mexico in 1928, she often came across a lot of crosses as she treaded along the desert. This experience of hers led to the Black Cross which is a perfect replica of the ones she saw, wooden, big crosses held strongly against each other. Behind the crosses lay the hills that seemed to stretch through eternity.

Her artistic genius is not just confined to the list of paintings mentioned above but is rather unending including the series of skyscraper paintings like New York Street with Moon, and the Radiator Building-Night, New York; Blue and Green Music, host of lily paintings and the series continues. She had even worked upon the architectural forms (door and patio wall) in her Abiquiú house. Her passion for art continued till her death as in her old age she had learned to work using clay from Hamilton, who was a potter by profession.

By |Last Updated: 10th March 2019

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