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Georgia O’Keeffe at Tate Modern

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Marking a century since her 1916 debut exhibition in New York, this summer sees the Tate Modern open a retrospective of the modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986). This is the first time in over twenty years that the American artist’s work has been on public display in the UK. id_078_web The retrospective challenges outdated and ‘clichéd’ readings of O’Keeffe’s works, such as the oft-cited connection between her flower paintings and female genitalia, which was rejected by the artist herself. Instead, curator Tanya Barson draws attention to O’Keeffe’s progression as a painter and the relationships her paintings draw between landscape, music and colour. id_027_web One of the paintings on display, Jimson Weed, White flower No. 1 (1932), which fetched $44.4m in 2014, happens to be the most expensive painting sold at auction by a female artist and is one of O’Keeffe’s most iconic works. Other highlights include several landscapes of New Mexico: a sun-drenched, open-skied region that inspired some of the artist’s most beautiful paintings. The contrast drawn by the coral and indigo hues of one such piece, Black Mesa Landscape (1930), evokes a sense of drama and emotion connected to the geography depicted, revealing O’Keeffe’s profound affinity with the landscape. id_100_web Also featured in the exhibition are photographs by Alfred Stieglitz (1864 – 1946), who organised O’Keeffe’s debut exhibition and promoted her artwork, later becoming her husband. Stieglitz made over 350 portraits of O’Keeffe over the course of their relationship. O’Keeffe once remarked, "I felt somehow that the photographs had nothing to do with me,” however their inclusion in this retrospective connects the professional and personal elements of O’Keeffe’s life, providing visitors with a glimpse of the face behind the paintings. Georgia O’Keeffe 6 July – 30 October 2016   Tate Modern


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