Friday, 7 February 2014

Georgia O'Keeffe's skulls + Ghost Ranch house

I thought, why not continue with something Georgia O'Keeffe-related on the blog today. Personally, I'm not much of a skull person, but O'Keeffe's skulls are different, probably because for her they weren't a symbol of death. I'm no art critic, I just know when art speaks to me, like her painting Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue, 1931. Usually I have no words to describe what it is exactly about a painting, but in this case I think O'Keeffe's humour is part of it:
Then I got this cow's head and I had the cow's head painted against the blue and I thought, well, I have to do something else about that. And that was at the time that the men were all talking about the great American novel, the great American play, the great American ... oh, it was the great American everything. And I thought they didn't know anything about America, mo a lot of them had never been across the Hudson. So I thought I'll make my picture ... a red white and blue [laughs], I'll make it an American painting. For these people that don't go across the Hudson. And this was my painting. I put a red stripe down each side. Entertained me but I don't think anybody else caught on to it for quite a while. (From a 1977 documentary, YouTube, 1:31)


If you have about 15 minutes to spare there is another video on YouTube called Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life in Art (2003), narrated by actor Gene Hackman. At minute 12:47 you will hear him quote her: "It takes courage to be a painter. I always felt I walked on the edge of a knife." Then O'Keeffe appears on camera and says:
On this knife I might fall off on either side but I ... I'd walk it again. So what, what if you do fall off? I'd rather be doing something I really wanted to do.
Hear, hear!


Yesterday I showed you Georgia O'Keeffe's house and studio in Abiquiu in New Mexico, which is open to the public. Today I'm adding a few photos from Ghost Ranch, her second home further north. It's a more secluded place, which she bought earlier. In the images you can see some of the natural objects she collected on her walks through the desert.


O'Keeffe was someone who enjoyed gardening; her pantry was filled with herbs. About the sagebrush at Ghost Ranch, O'Keeffe has said it blew in and planted itself.

photo credit:
1: Georgia O'Keeffe, Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue, 1931, oil on canvas via The Metropolitan Museum of Art / 2-5: Robert Reck for Architectural Digest / 6: Mary E. Nichols for Architectural Digest

1 comment:

  1. I like an artist even more when they have a sense of humour, especially towards their own work. Great collection of natural objects (I'm collecting rocks myself) and beautiful photography.

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