A groundbreaking introduction to the photographic work of an iconic modern artist
The pathbreaking artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) is revered for her iconic paintings of flowers, skyscrapers, animal skulls, and Southwestern landscapes. Her photographic work, however, has not been explored in depth until now. After the death of her husband, the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, in 1946, photography indeed became an important part of O’Keeffe’s artistic production. She trained alongside the photographer Todd Webb, revisiting subjects that she had painted years before—landforms of the Southwest, the black door in her courtyard, the road outside her window, and flowers. O’Keeffe’s carefully composed photographs are not studies of detail or decisive moments; rather, they focus on the arrangement of forms.
This is the first major investigation of O’Keeffe’s photography and traces the artist’s thirty-year exploration of the medium, including a complete catalogue of her photographic work. Essays by leading scholars address O’Keeffe’s photographic approach and style and situate photography within the artist’s overall practice. This richly illustrated volume significantly broadens our understanding of one of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century.
Published in association with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (October 17, 2021–January 17, 2022)
Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA (February 26–June 12, 2022)
Denver Art Museum (July 3–November 6, 2022)
Cincinnati Art Museum (February 3–May 7, 2023)
About the Author
Lisa Volpe is associate curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Ariel Plotek is curator of fine art at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
“A revelatory photographic discovery and enlightening contextualization of O’Keeffe’s artwork, broadening appreciation for one of America’s greatest artists.”—Elin Spring and Suzanne Révy, What Will You Remember?, “Our Favorite Photobooks of 2021!”
2022 PROSE Award Finalist, Art Exhibitions category
“Lisa Volpe’s careful scholarship offers a new perspective on the work of Georgia O’Keeffe. As viewers, we are invited to see the intimacy of her surroundings through the act of taking pictures.”—Catherine Opie
“A necessary, and beautiful, contribution to the mountain of scholarship on Georgia O’Keeffe. For the first time, we can talk about O’Keeffe as a photographer and within the long line of modern artists who used photography as a critical tool in constructing their paintings.”—Bruce Robertson, University of California, Santa Barbara
“O’Keeffe had no desire to be an art photographer, this welcome study reveals, but she deeply exploited the camera’s potential to focus and frame motifs in memorable compositions. In ways unknown until now, she used her Leica and Polaroid as power tools to exercise her eye and practice her formal aesthetics.”—Wanda M. Corn, author of Georgia O’Keeffe, Living Modern
“In this deeply researched and engaging book, Lisa Volpe and Ariel Plotek not only show how O’Keeffe used the same pictorial strategies in creating her photographs as she did in her paintings, but they also shed light on her life in New Mexico in her later years. In the end, this book is about artistic rejuvenation—it reveals how great artists, like O’Keeffe, repeatedly rethink their work and practice, expanding and reinvigorating it as new challenges and new opportunities present themselves.”—Sarah Greenough, National Gallery of Art