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Georgia O'Keeffe

Flower Abstraction
1924

On view
Floor 7

Date
1924

Classification
Paintings

Medium
Oil on canvas

Dimensions
Overall: 48 1/8 × 30in. (122.2 × 76.2 cm)

Accession number
85.47

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; 50th Anniversary Gift of Sandra Payson

Rights and reproductions
© Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Flower Abstraction is among the earliest of Georgia O’Keeffe’s large-scale flower paintings, which she continued to produce through the 1950s. In these paintings, O’Keeffe harnessed the technique of close cropping that she had learned from modernist photography, especially the work of Paul Strand, with her own pictorial vocabulary of undulating forms and soft gradations of tone. In this way, she transformed her botanical subjects into compositions that oscillate between abstraction and representation. The magnified flower in Flower Abstraction seems to extend beyond its frames, as if without measurable boundaries. By utilizing a small, ordinary flower to suggest the immensity of nature, O’Keeffe sought to undermine her viewers’ habitual ways of looking. As she remarked, “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.”    




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