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Georgia O’Keeffe O’Keeffe’s page
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Flower Abstraction

1924

Georgia O’Keeffe, Flower Abstraction, 1924. Oil on canvas, 48 × 30 in. (121.9 × 76.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; 50th Anniversary Gift of Sandra Payson  85.47
© 2009 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Georgia O’Keeffe began working on her flower paintings around 1919, creating closely cropped and enlarged compositions that were not always immediately recognizable as flowers. At once abstract and realistic, the spirals and wave-like forms of her flowers suggest the movement and flow of growth. As O’Keeffe explained, she chose the magnified scale for the effect it would have on viewers: “Paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it—I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.” Her friend and fellow artist Marsden Hartley once said that her flowers are “so huge that they shut out the sky above them—shut out even the morning that opens them.”
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