Georgia O’Keeffe Museum puts its collection online

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has created a large online database of 3000 items from its collection. Now you can browse the entire database or search for a specific piece among the thousands of images of O’Keefe’s art and photographs from the Museum Collection, plus correspondence and other archives from the Research Center collection.

There are over 900 Georgia O’Keeffe works in the database, from her iconic flowers and bleached desert skulls, to nudes, landscapes, cityscapes, abstractions, and more, ranging in date from 1901 to 1984. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center archives photographic collections, study materials, and the Georgia O’Keeffe General Correspondence collection, among other things.

I’m particularly fascinated by the Personal Tangible Property collection, which contains O’Keefe’s personal art materials like brushes, easels, frames, and paints, found objects she used in her works like bones, rocks and shells, plus her clothing and household furnishings. It’s neat to catch a glimpse of how she lived and worked, of the things that she surrounded herself with, that inspired her art.

'Series I White & Blue Flower Shapes' by Georgia O'Keeffe, 1919The images are all high resolution, so you can zoom way, way in to her paintings and see the most minute detail. Here’s a 1919 piece, Series I White & Blue Flower Shapes, for example. The picture as you first see it is only 12.5% zoomed in. Go up 100% and drag the little square in the thumbnail to see the brush strokes, even the individual brush hairs.

Interesting tidbit about O’Keeffe’s flowers which I just learned from the museum website: she was annoyed that critics saw in her extreme closeups of the sexual anatomy of flowers (and in her other works, for that matter) an expression of her gender and sexuality.

In 1943, O’Keeffe finally responded: “Well – I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flowers you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower – and I don’t.” (In Ernest W. Watson, “Georgia O’Keeffe,” American Artist [June 1943]:10.)

Those critics were projecting, in other words, and so have I been. :blush:

The museum will continue to add to the online database, so check back regularly if you looked for something and couldn’t find it.


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Comment by Sarah
2010-05-03 11:11:31

I’m sorry, if she didn’t mean for it to look like female genitalia, then why did she MAKE it look like female genitalia? :p

Comment by livius drusus
2010-05-03 11:27:25

Think of your mother with that mind? :giggle:

Comment by RCam
2010-05-05 14:29:01

Welll, no matter what she meant it to be viewed as, critics always come up with how they think it should be viewed or mean. Take literature for example – tons of books and courses on the meaning of great literary works. Sometimes, a story is just a story. How many authors have turned over in their grave because of the meaning derived from their stories that was completely unintentional. I personally dislike all Okeefe’s work but mostly, i dislike her uni-brow.

Comment by livius drusus
2010-05-05 15:14:35

I think literature and art can take on lives of their own past what the author intended. I know I’ve written stuff that in my conscious mind meant one thing only to find upon rereading that there’s a whole other layer of meaning in there that I was not aware of when I first wrote it.

As for the unibrow, I’m uncomfortable with how often women are judged by their appearance even when that has nothing to do with their vocation. Besides, Frieda Kahlo put it all way out there so really nobody even compares to her unibrow artistry.

Comment by kayleigh
2012-03-25 13:12:38

whats the name of this painting(flower)

Comment by Robin
2012-11-16 14:38:00

Thank you for saying that, livius drusus. I have been researching Georgia O’keeffe’s work and found this blog in that journey. I love her work and, well, the comment about the previous commenter made about her appearance was sad for me to read.

Comment by Jim H
2012-11-16 16:08:58

I am not personally fond of O’Keeffe’s flower paintings (I love her art deco NY City and Taos adobe church paintings) but she is a tremendous talent. But I cannot imagine that such a highly intelligent and educated person as her would not realize the inherent sexual overtones that were in some of the paintings, so he comment sounds a little coy or disingenuous to me. :)

Comment by Manda
2016-08-22 15:31:11

Hilarious that the person who commented above muddled up Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo, only one of whom had a unibrow. Classic stupid comment by a superficial nobody.

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