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Artist Profile: Georgia O’Keefe

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887, in Wisconsin. She was an American modernist artist and was most recognised for her paintings of large flowers, and landscapes of New York and New Mexico. Over the years, Georgia created many works of abstract art which are still just as appreciated by painters, artists, and photographers to this day.

Georgia began art training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1905 and then continued her studies in the Art Students League of New York. In 1908, she worked for two years as a commercial illustrator and then taught in Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina between 1911 and 1918. This was due to her being unable to fund further education.

She studied art in the summers between 1912 and 1914 and was introduced to Arthur Wesley Dow, who created his form and style of art based on personal style and interpretation, rather than trying to copy them. This caused a major shift in the way she felt about art and you can see this in her art when looking at it from a timeline perspective.

In 1917, Alfred Stieglitz, an art dealer and photographer, held an exhibit of her works and over the next few years, she continued her studies and occasionally taught at the Teachers College in Columbia.

O’Keefe moved to New York in 1918 at the art dealer’s request and she began working as a professional artist. Together they developed a professional and later a romantic relationship that resulted in their marriage in 1924.

Georgia and Alfred lived together in New York creating art until 1929. She then began spending months of the year in the Southwest, to gain inspiration for her stunning paintings of New Mexico. After Stieglitz's death, she permanently moved and began living in New Mexico for her last years.

On March 6, 1986, Georgia passed away in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After her death, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum opened in Santa Fe, and in 2014, one of O'Keeffe's paintings was even sold for $44,405,000, outselling the previous world auction record by three times more than any other female artist!

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