Georgia’s World

A journey through the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the first painters to capture my imagination — I loved her use of color and the way her paintings bridged realism and abstraction. She remains one of America’s most beloved modernist painters,the kind whose work you might find in a special exhibition at MoMA or on a poster in a college dorm room. Her paintings are intimate, immediate, and iconic.There’s also the Freudian interpretation of her flower paintings — a subtext that created much publicity for her work, but that O’Keeffe never fully endorsed. Her paintings of the American Southwest are equally sensual and mysterious.

Last week I visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The museum features a handful of well-known O’Keeffe paintings, many lesser but nonetheless fascinating works, and some ephemera from her work and life. A couple yellowing sketchbooks showed early studies next to the completed paintings. There was a gallery of black and white photos of O’Keeffe at various stages of her life — she gained acclaim in her late twenties and made art well into her late 90s. My experience of the art was deepened by a week spent taking in the New Mexico landscape. It’s a place as stunning and serene as O’Keeffe painted it.

Here’s a list of the Georgia O’Keeffe works I adapted for this comic, in order of appearance:

Black Door with Red, 1955

Patio with Black Door, 1955

Red Canna, 1924

City Night, 1926

Black Place II, 1945

Blue and Green Music, 1921

Blue Lines X, 1916

Deer’s Skull with Pedernal, 1936

Evening Star VI, 1917

Abstraction, 1916

Abstraction, 1946

Pelvis Series — Red with Yellow, 1945

The Lawrence Tree, 1929

Green Patio Door, 1955