Georgia O’Keeffe’s Far Wide Texas
April 29, 2016 - October 30, 2016
Santa Fe, NM
Beginning April 29, 2016, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum brings together the watercolors created by the artist during the years she lived in Canyon, Texas (1916-1918). This is a period of radical innovation and the moment when O’Keeffe’s commitment to abstraction is firmly established. The watercolors and drawings she created during that period, which were shown by Alfred Stieglitz at his New York gallery “291,” provide ample evidence of the significance of this moment in O’Keeffe’s artistic formation. Her life in Texas and the work she created is often mentioned as a prelude to her career in New York City. This exhibition will analyze the unique situation that fostered her abstractions at the intersection of her disciplined art practice and her allegiance to the techniques of her mentor Arthur Wesley Dow. While she was at West Texas State Normal College (now West Texas A & M University) she taught his curriculum, which became her life-long practice.
Twenty-eight of the 51 watercolors O’Keeffe created while living in Canyon, Texas will be on view. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is fortunate to hold the majority of the works produced in this era through gifts from The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation and The Burnett Foundation, including landscapes, abstractions, and nudes (studies of her own body).
A gorgeous catalogue will accompany the exhibition of O’Keeffe’s Texas paintings. Because of the fragility of the watercolors and strict limits on light exposure, the works are rarely seen. Therefore the publication will reproduce the watercolors at full size on a page with no text. Most of the works are approximately 8 x 12 inches. The color plates gathered in the catalogue will, for the first time, allow critical comparison and serve as a lasting reference and testament to the significance of the watercolors in O’Keeffe’s creative growth. An essay by Amy Von Lintel, professor of art history at West Texas A & M University, will accompany the images. She has studied the original documents from O’Keeffe’s Texas years including her letters to Alfred Stieglitz as well as University documents to shed new critical light on this productive period of O’Keeffe’s life.