Dallas Museum of Art
Photo Credit: Tom Jenkins
Georgia O'Keeffe: the Poetry of Things
With vivid, bold paintings of flowers and surreal visions of bones floating before a blue horizon, the Dallas Museum of Art presents Georgia O'Keeffe: the Poetry of Things, a major exhibition of works by one of the true icons of American art, beginning November 7. The exhibition will be on view through January 30, 2000.
"Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things," said O'Keeffe in 1922. And through 55 paintings, watercolors, and works on paper that include some of O'Keeffe's most recognizable images--flowers, trees, shells, and bones--Georgia O'Keeffe: The Poetry of Things examines the beloved artist's modernist views and her contributions to modern art.
"This exhibition explores the way O'Keeffe approached still life painting from modernist perspective," said Dr. Eleanor Jones Harvey, Consulting Curator of American Art for the DMA and local curator of the exhibition. "From close ups of flowers to bleached bones, O'Keeffe took traditional still life components and used them as part of a modernist idiom," said Harvey.
Nowhere is O'Keeffe's fresh perspective on scale and space more obvious than in her world-famous flower paintings. O'Keeffe infused her flowers with vibrant color, from intense scarlets to rich purples, which, along with their large scale, were intended to evoke emotional reactions. She meant for the oversized flowers to attract attention, and they did. Most people reacted to what they perceived as the Freudian imagery conveyed by the folding petals and the enlarged stamen and pistils in the cavernous interior of the blossom. From the red poppy to the dark purple iris and white roses, her flowers elicited a sensuous, charged emotion.
In 1929, O'Keeffe began to break away from the East Coast environment that had provided her primary inspiration for more than 10 years. A trip to northern New Mexico renewed a passion for sky, mountains, and magnificent vistas that she had first experienced when teaching in West Texas 15 years earlier. First in Taos, then at Ghost Ranch, and finally at her adobe home in Abiquiu, she expanded her series subjects to include bones and crosses that are such an integral part of the desert culture of that area. Her allegories of death--bleached white skulls and pelvises of deer, antelope, and cattle--float in ethereal scenes against the backdrop of the sky in what one critic called a "vision of infinity."
For more information about this traveling exhibition please see our articles on Georgia O'Keeffe: The Poetry of Things (3/6/99) at The Phillips Collection and Georgia O'Keeffe: The Poetry of Things (5/30/99) at The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.
Read more about the Dallas Museum of Art in Resource Library
For further biographical information on Georgia O'Keeffe please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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