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Georgia O’Keeffe: American Modernist

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, June 6, 2024 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2326
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Materials for this program

Georgia O’Keeffe by Alfred Stieglitz, 1918

When she died in 1986 at the age of 98, Georgia O’Keeffe’s obituary appeared on the front page of The New York Times. This was rare for any artist, and unheard-of for a woman painter. But she had been famous since the late 1920s, and a century later remains an icon of American art. 

Images of O’Keeffe’s paintings are ubiquitous in popular culture. Collectors covet O’Keeffe’s pictures: In 2014 her painting Jimson Weed/White Flower #1 (1932) broke the auction record for a work by any woman artist when Sotheby’s sold it for more than 44 million dollars to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

In a richly illustrated program, art historian Bonita Billman explores O’Keeffe’s life and artistic career, beginning with her upbringing in rural Wisconsin. Settling in New York as a young adult, she became associated with gallerist and photographer Alfred Stieglitz and his avant-garde circle. She painted cityscapes of skyscrapers­—a symbol of American Modernism. She first visited Abiquiú, New Mexico in 1931 and decades later moved there. The desert scenery opened a new range of subject matter for her work.  

Billman also looks at the influences on O’Keeffe—including fellow artist Arthur Wesley Dow, who taught her the importance of “filling a space in a beautiful way,” and her husband, Alfred Stieglitz.

Billman is retired from the department of history and art history at Georgetown University.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

General Information

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.