DEC 25 — Art lovers certainly know what a great painter Georgia O’Keeffe was. But few know about her photographic work. Now, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is dedicating an exhibition to this often overlooked aspect of her artistic practice.
From a very young age, Georgia O’Keeffe always saw herself as an artist. “I had it in my head, well, I couldn’t have been 12... that I was going to be a painter,” she once reportedly said. Retrospectives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and, more recently, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, have introduced the public to the American artist’s colourful abstract paintings.
Now, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Houston has decided to focus on her photography. This is the first time that a museum has dedicated an entire exhibition to the photographic work of this pioneer of modernity. “Georgia O’Keefe, Photographer” features nearly 100 photographs, most of them in black and white, and all of them from recently rediscovered archives. Paintings and drawings complement the photos, to give visitors to the MFA a sense of the scope of the American artist’s career.
While Georgia O’Keefe became familiar with photography during the first decades of her life, she delved deeper into the medium after marrying the photographer, gallery owner and promoter of modern European art, Alfred Stieglitz. He photographed her tirelessly, usually nude, while she helped him print his pictures and even design his exhibitions.
But it wasn’t until the mid-1950s, after her husband’s death, that O’Keefe began making her own photographs. “She expressed her unique perspective through all aspects of her life, and by the time she began her photographic practice in the mid-1950s, her singular identity and artistry were well established,” notes the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The “Georgia O’Keefe, Photographer” exhibition runs until January 17, 2022, at the Texas museum. — ETX Studio