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O'KEEFFE'S O'KEEFFES: The Artist's Collection
Bibliophile price: £17.50
Georgia O'Keeffe's sensual flower studies took the art world by storm in the mid-20th century through the promotional genius of her husband Alfred Stieglitz, but there was another side to O'Keeffe, who increasingly moved towards abstraction. She retained about 1000 of her own artworks for her personal collection and this gorgeous book features 75 of those works, with a commentary that opens up the world and spirit of this mysterious and powerful image-maker. Neutral colours dominate her mid-1920s shell studies, for instance in the delicate expanse of plain wash seen in Tan Clam Shell with Seaweed, but in the same period O' Keeffe is also producing richly sensuous flower studies like Canna Leaves of 1925 with its green curling fronds. The flower Jack in the Pulpit is a favourite subject, with its black central cleft and glowing blue and green exterior petals. The artist used a similar palette for the very different angular lines of City Night, a study of skyscrapers from 1926. There are some surprises among O'Keeffe's early works, among them a white-lacquered abstract bronze from 1916, suggesting a ruthlessly pared-down human figure. Among her landscapes, Lake George with Crows stands out not only for its serene semi-abstraction but also for the shimmering depth of vivid blue she conjures up for the lake. Cow's Skull with Calico Roses (1931) has a symbolic resonance, with the skull and flowers bleached out against a central black cleft. and O'Keeffe's Mexican landscapes picture a featureless desert redeemed by warm colour. The final painting, from 1963, depicts a Winter Road using a single expressive curving line. 192pp, chronology, 106 illus including 97 colour plates. 9¼" x 12".
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