“Fill a space in a beautiful way.” Georgia O’Keeffe born 1887 November 15th

Georgia OKeeffe NM home along with dogs

Georgia O’Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887, in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in New York. Photographer and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz gave O’Keeffe her first gallery show in 1916 and the couple married in 1924. Considered the “mother of American modernism,” O’Keeffe moved to New Mexico after her husband’s death and was inspired by the landscape to create numerous well-known paintings. Georgia O’Keeffe died on March 6, 1986 at the age of 98.

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A pioneer of Modern Art, Georgia O’Keeffe created large-scale paintings of natural forms and flowers at close range. She began to spend much of her time in New Mexico and created imagery synonymous with the American Southwest. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1985 and died in 1986 at the age of 98.

After her husband died in 1946, O’Keeffe moved to New Mexico. There, she was inspired by the landscape to create numerous well- known paintings. Also in 1946, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) held an exhibition of her life’s work – its first ever for a woman artist. O’Keeffe also won many accolades and was given honorary degrees from various universities.

In 1972, O’Keeffe’s eyesight started to fail. She stopped painting in oil but continued working in pencil and charcoal until 1984. In 1977, President Ford presented O’Keeffe with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour given to U.S. citizens. O’Keeffe died on March 6, 1986, in Santa Fe, Mexico, aged 98. She is widely recognized as the mother of American modernism.


I found I could say things with colors that I couldn’t say in any other way – things that I had no words for.

There’s something about black. You feel hidden away in it.

To create one’s own world, in any of the arts, takes courage.

I have lived on a razor’s edge. So what if you fall off – I’d rather be doing something I really wanted to do. I’d walk it again.

The simple fact of yourself… there it is… just you… no excitement about it… a very simple fact… the only thing you have… keep it as clear as you can.

It was all so far away… there was quiet and an untouched feel to the country and I could work as I pleased.

My first memory is of the brightness of light… light all around. I was sitting among pillows on a quilt on the ground… very large white pillows…

I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me… shapes and ideas so near to me… so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down..

One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt

One cannot be an American by going about saying that one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work.

When I think of death, I only regret that I will not be able to see this beautiful country anymore… unless the Indians are right and my spirit will walk here after I’m gone.

Fill a space in a beautiful way.

I hate flowers – I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.

Come quickly. You mustn’t miss the dawn. It will never be just like this again.

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.

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