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    Are Georgia O'Keeffe's flowers really hypersexual? Or is that just what we've been told to see.

    Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower series are detailed magnifications of countless plants that force the observer to notice common subjects in a way that enhances their wonder. However, today her paintings are synonymous with the female reproductive organ and little else. It is challenging to deny that there is no sensuality in her flowers, as the subject itself is sensuous and beautiful, but it is important to understand the origin and context of that interpretation.

    During her career, O’Keeffe moved from pure abstraction, abstraction of recognizable subjects, to representation. This change in methodology may have occurred after the characterization of her work as overtly sexual. The promotion of her art by Alfred Stieglitz and the predominance of men in the art world portrayed her work as first and foremost a female creation. Stieglitz called her art “the expression of a sexually liberated woman” and said she “receives the World through her Womb.”

    Even though she painted a subject matter that her male colleagues would have deemed appropriate for a woman, she was still chastised for her innovations, which they said had “promiscuous qualities.” This was not lost on O’Keeffe herself who once stated, “The men like to put me down as the best woman painter. I think I’m one of the best painters.”

    This post will explore the development of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art throughout her lifetime and the way it was received by Stieglitz and the men in the art world who felt threatened by it.

    • There is a lot of information at the Santa Fe museum regarding Ms. O'Keeffe and her history from New Mexico to New York to Arizona. There were short films and a great deal of literature that could help with research material for this article. – Venus Echos 9 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Great article! As a student of art history I try to make a conscious effort to study female artists. Especially, the wives of famous artists such as Lee Krasner, Pollock’s wife, who should be given their dues.

    The Forgotten Female Artist: Janet Sobel’s Struggle within the Abstract Expressionist Movement

    Great that you mentioned how he was influenced by the German expressionist movement! Once I looked at German expressionist movies, I saw Burton in a new light.

    The Art of Tim Burton: The Artist Before The Filmmaker

    I wasn’t familiar with Spencer. Emotional art as reaction to war experiences reminds of Kirchner’s work. Aesthetically different but has a strong emotional resonance.

    World War One: Truth Within Artistic Representations