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GeorgiaTotto O'Keeffe

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) was an American artist. She was best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes. O'Keeffe has been recognized as the "Mother of American modernism".
In 1905, O'Keeffe began her serious formal art training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then the Art Students League of New York, but she felt constrained by her lessons that focused on recreating or copying what was in nature. In 1908, unable to fund further education, she worked for two years as a commercial illustrator, and then spent seven years between 1911 and 1918 teaching in Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina. During that time, she studied art during the summers between 1912 and 1914 and was introduced to the principles and philosophies of Arthur Wesley Dow, who espoused created works of art based upon personal style, design, and interpretation of subjects, rather than trying to copy or represent them. This caused a major change in the way she felt about and approached art, as seen in the beginning stages of her watercolors from her studies at the University of Virginia and more dramatically in the charcoal drawings that she produced in 1915 that led to total abstraction. Alfred Stieglitz, an art dealer and photographer, held an exhibit of her works in 1916. Over the next couple of years, she taught and continued her studies at the Teachers College, Columbia University.
She moved to New York in 1918 at Stieglitz's request and began working seriously as an artist. They developed a professional relationship, he promoted and exhibited her works, and a personal relationship that led to their marriage in 1924. O'Keeffe created many forms of abstract art, including close-ups of flowers, such as the Red Canna paintings, that many found to represent women's genitalia, although O'Keeffe consistently denied that intention. The reputation of the portrayal of women's sexuality was also fueled by explicit and sensuous photographs that Stieglitz had taken and exhibited of O'Keeffe.
O'Keeffe and Stieglitz lived together in New York until 1929, when O'Keeffe began spending part of the year in the Southwest, which served as inspiration for her paintings of New Mexico landscapes and images of animal skulls, such as Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue and Ram's Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills. After Stieglitz’s death, she lived permanently in New Mexico at Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio in Abiquiú, until the last years of her life when she lived in Santa Fe. In 2014, O'Keeffe's 1932 painting Jimson Weed sold for $44,405,000, more than three times the previous world auction record for any woman artist. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum was established after her death in Santa Fe.
O'Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887, in a farmhouse located at 2405 Hwy T in the town of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Her parents, Francis Calyxtus O'Keeffe and Ida (Totto) O'Keeffe, were dairy farmers. Her father was of Irish descent. Her maternal grandfather George Victor Totto, for whom O'Keeffe was named, was a Hungarian count who came to the United States in 1848.
O'Keeffe was the second of seven children. She attended Town Hall School in Sun Prairie. By age ten she had decided to become an artist, and she and her sister received art instruction from local watercolorist Sara Mann. O'Keeffe attended high school at Sacred Heart Academy in Madison, Wisconsin as a boarder between 1901 and 1902. In late 1902 the O'Keeffes moved from Wisconsin to the close-knit neighborhood of Peacock Hill in Williamsburg, Virginia. The family apparently relocated to Virginia so O’Keeffe’s father could start a business making rusticated cast concrete block in anticipation of a demand for the block in the Peninsula building trade. The demand never materialized. O'Keeffe stayed in Wisconsin with her aunt and attended Madison Central High School, then joined her family in Virginia in 1903. She completed high school as a boarder at Chatham Episcopal Institute in Virginia (now Chatham Hall) and graduated in 1905. She was a member of the Kappa Delta sorority.
When she taught and headed the art department at West Texas State Normal College, her youngest sibling, Claudia, lived with her at her mother's request to watch over her as she studied at the school. In 1917 she visited her brother, Alexis, at a military camp in Texas before he shipped out for Europe during World War I. While there she created the painting, The Flag, which expressed her anxiety and depression about the war.
O'Keeffe studied and ranked at the top of her class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1905 to 1906, studying with John Vanderpoel. Due to typhoid fever, she had to take a year off from her education. In 1907, she attended the Art Students League in New York City, where she studied under William Merritt Chase, Kenyon Cox and F. Luis Mora. In 1908, she won the League's William Merritt Chase still-life prize for her oil painting Dead Rabbit with Copper Pot. Her prize was a scholarship to attend the League's outdoor summer school in Lake George, New York. While in the city, O'Keeffe visited galleries, such as 291, co-owned by her future husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The gallery promoted the work of avant-garde artists from the United States and Europe and photographers.

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