Press Release

Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe

​Georgia O'Keeffe Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 1932

Georgia O’Keeffe 1887-1986
Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 1932
Oil paint on canvas
48 x 40 inches
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas, USA
© 2016 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/DACS, London

Photography by Edward C. Robison III

6 July – 30 October 2016

Open daily 10.00 – 18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday
For public information call +44 (0)20 7887 8888, visit, follow @tate #Tate2016
Supported by Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne
Additional support from the Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibition Supporters Group and Tate Patrons 

Tate Modern presents the largest retrospective of modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) ever to be shown outside of America. Marking a century since O’Keeffe’s debut in New York in 1916, it is the first UK exhibition of her work for over twenty years. This ambitious and wide-ranging survey reassesses the artist’s place in the canon of twentieth-century art and reveals her profound importance. With no works by O’Keeffe in UK public collections, the exhibition is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for European audiences to view her oeuvre in such depth. 

Widely recognised as a founding figure of American modernism, O’Keeffe gained a central position in leading art circles between the 1910s and the 1970s. She was also claimed as an important pioneer by feminist artists of the 1970s. Spanning the six decades in which O’Keeffe was at her most productive and featuring over 100 major works, the exhibition charts the progression of her practice from her early abstract experiments to her late works, aiming to dispel the clichés that persist about the artist and her painting. 

Opening with the moment of her first showings at ‘291’ gallery in New York in 1916 and 1917, the exhibition features O’Keeffe’s earliest mature works made while she was working as a teacher in Virginia and Texas. Charcoals such as Special No.9 1915 and Early No. 2 1915 are shown alongside a select group of highly coloured watercolours and oils, such as Sunrise 1916 and Blue and Green Music 1919. These works investigate the relationship of form to landscape, music, colour and composition, and reveal O’Keeffe’s developing understanding of synaesthesia. 

A room in the exhibition considers O’Keeffe’s professional and personal relationship with Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946); photographer, modern art promoter and the artist’s husband. While Stieglitz increased O’Keeffe’s access to the most current developments in avant-garde art, she employed these influences and opportunities to her own objectives. Her keen intellect and resolute character created a fruitful relationship that was, though sometimes conflictive, one of reciprocal influence and exchange. A selection of photography by Stieglitz is shown, including portraits and nudes of O’Keeffe as well as key figures from the avant-garde circle of the time, such as Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) and John Marin (1870-1953). 

Still life formed an important investigation within O’Keeffe’s work,most notably her representations and abstractions of flowers. The exhibition explores how these works reflect the influence she took from modernist photography, such as the play with distortion in Calla Lily in Tall Glass – No. 2 1923 and close cropping in Oriental Poppies 1927. A highlight is Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 1932, one of O’Keeffe’s most iconic flower paintings. 

O’Keeffe’s most persistent source of inspiration however was nature and the landscape; she painted both figurative works and abstractions drawn from landscape subjects. Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico / Out of Black Marie’s II 1930 and Red and Yellow Cliffs 1940 chart O’Keeffe’s progressive immersion in New Mexico’s distinctive geography, while works such as Taos Pueblo 1929/34 indicate her complex response to the area and its layered cultures. Stylised paintings of the location she called the ‘Black Place’ are at the heart of the exhibition. 

Georgia O’Keeffe is curated by Tanya Barson, Curator, Tate Modern with Hannah Johnston, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. The exhibition is organised by Tate Modern in collaboration with Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. It is accompanied by a catalogue from Tate Publishing and a programme of talks and events in the gallery. 

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Editor notes




Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 27 July – 22 October 2016

Tate Modern, in the exhibition

£22.20/£5 for members

Join one of our tours and explore the life and work of this pioneer of American modernism.



31 July 2016

Tate Modern, Starr Cinema


Two films capturing aspects of Georgia O’Keeffe’s home life, work and some of the sites that inspired her paintings. The screening is introduced by Tanya Barson, Curator, Georgia O’Keeffe.


Georgia O’Keeffe, Perry Miller Adato, 1977, 60 min

Originally created in celebration of O’Keeffe’s 90th birthday, Miller Adato’s film is the only filmic portrait the artist allowed to be made. Co-operating to an uncharacteristic degree, O’Keeffe provided the filmmaker with rare home movie footage and spoke frankly about her work, her life with photographer Alfred Stieglitz and her role as the only woman in Stieglitz’s famed inner circle of modern American artists. Shot on location in New Mexico, the film shows the then 88-year-old painter in her studio, in the landscape surrounding her home at Ghost Ranch and in her house at Abiquiú.


Manhatta, Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand, 1921, 9 min

American painter Charles Sheeler and photographer Paul Strand’s now-iconic city film captures the New York of O’Keeffe’s generation. Celebrated as one of the first American avant-garde films, Manhatta consists of a series of strikingly composed shots of the city over the course of a day. The film was conceived as a filmic analogue to Walt Whitman’s poem “Mannahatta” and marked the beginning of Paul Strand’s cinematic work. Shot shortly after her move to the city in 1918, the film reveals many of the sites O’Keeffe later painted in the period from 1925 to 1930.