NARRATOR: Georgia O’Keeffe began her public career as an abstract artist, and—with these watercolors—she ended that way as well. In the early 1971, she began to suffer from macular degeneration, a condition that eventually left her with only peripheral vision. In her early eighties at the time, she began working with assistants to produce watercolors like the ones you see here. They return to the spare, organic motifs of her early charcoals. Though tentative as a result of her failing eyesight, they demonstrate her ongoing quest to use abstraction to distill the essence of her visual and emotional world. She passed away in Santa Fe at the age of 98, on March 6, 1986.
Special thanks to Perry Miller Adato for giving us permission to use interviews with the artist from her film “The Originals – Portrait of an Artist – Georgia O’Keeffe.” This material is licensed courtesy WNET.ORG. Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM