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born 1887

Today, pioneering painter Georgia O'Keeffe is one of the world's best loved artists. 

But, there was a time when the avant-garde Georgia was determined to give up her charcoals + oils because she felt limited by the realist bent of the art world. At 21, the girl who grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm took a gig as a commercial artist in Chicago + didn't put brush to canvas for 4 years. In 1912, some brilliant art educators helped Georgia reclaim her calling ~ to help usher in a new age of art. Often called the "mother of American modernism," Georgia kept producing the lush, intimate still-lifes and evocative landscapes she's known for into her 90s.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Georgia O'Keeffe (12)

"I seem to be waiting for something to happen—I've tried not to think because there are so many things that make me feel so exquisitely raw inside."

Georgia O'Keeffe to Alfred Stieglitz {via My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz} | july 1916

"How nice it is that you are."

Georgia O'Keeffe to Alfred Stieglitz {via My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz} | july 1916

"The plains—the wonderful great big sky—makes me want to breathe so deep that I'll break."

Georgia O'Keeffe to Alfred Stieglitz {via My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz} | september 1916

"Tonight I'd like to paint the world with a broom—and I think I'd like great buckets of color . . . lots of red—vermillion—and I don't want to be careful of the floor—I just want to splash."

Georgia O'Keeffe to Alfred Stieglitz {via My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz} | november 1916

"I know now that most people are so closely concerned with themselves that they are not aware of their own individuality. I can see myself, and it has helped me to say what I want to say—in paint."

Portrait of an Artist | 1922

"It is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things."

The New York Sun | 1922

"Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant—there's no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing—and keeping the unknown always beyond you…"

Georgia O’Keeffe: Art and Letters | august 1923

"I have not wanted to be anything but kind to you—but there is nothing to be kind to you if I cannot be me."

Georgia O'Keeffe to Alfred Stieglitz {via My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz} | july 1929

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I wanted to give that world to someone else."

Her Worlds Are Many | may 1946

"Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest."

Georgia O'Keeffe | 1976

"Filling a space in a beautiful way. That's what art means to me."

ARTnews | december 1977

"In a way—nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small—we haven't time—and to see takes time like to have friend takes time."

An Enduring Spirit: The Art of Georgia O'Keeffe | january 1984
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curated with care by Alicia Williamson & Angela Willard {march 2015}