Famed for her images of flowers and Southwestern landscapes, Georgia O’Keeffe spent several years exploring the built environment of New York City with brush in hand. The artist moved to the city’s newly built Shelton Hotel in 1925, then the tallest residential skyscraper in the world, and its soaring heights inspired a five-year period of energetic experimentation, across media and at a variety of scales, with subject matter, form, and perspective. She created street-level compositions capturing the city’s monumental skyscrapers from below and suspended views looking down from her 30th-floor apartment. O’Keeffe called these works “my New Yorks” and through them investigated the dynamic potential of New York’s cityscape—the organic and the inorganic, the natural and the constructed. As she put it, “One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt.”
This exhibition is the first to seriously examine O’Keeffe’s paintings, drawings, and pastels of urban landscapes, while also situating them in the diverse context of her other compositions of the 1920s and early 1930s. The presentation establishes these works not as outliers or anomalous to her practice, but rather as entirely integral to her modernist investigation in the 1920s—from her abstractions and still lifes at Lake George in upstate New York and beyond to her works upon arriving in the Southwest in 1929. O’Keeffe’s “New Yorks” are essential to understanding how she became the artist we know today.
Accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue
Credit: Overview from museum website