Art lovers certainly know what a great painter Georgia O’Keeffe was. But few know his photographic work. Today, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston dedicates an exhibition to this often overlooked aspect of his artistic practice.
From an early age, Georgia O’Keeffe always considered herself an artist. “I had in mind, well, I couldn’t be 12 … that I was going to be a painter,” she is said to have once said. Retrospectives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and, more recently, at the Center Pompidou in Paris, introduced the public to the colorful abstract paintings of the American artist.
Now, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Houston has decided to focus on his photography. This is the first time that a museum has devoted an entire exhibition to the photographic work of this pioneer of modernity. “Georgia O’Keefe, Photographer” presents nearly 100 photographs, most of them in black and white, and all from recently rediscovered archives. Paintings and drawings complement the photos, giving visitors to the MFA a sense of the breadth of the American artist’s career.
While Georgia O’Keefe became familiar with photography during the first decades of her life, she deepened the medium after marrying the photographer, gallery owner and promoter of modern European art, Alfred Stieglitz. He photographed her tirelessly, usually nude, as she helped him print his images and even design his exhibitions.
But it wasn’t until the mid-1950s, after her husband’s death, that O’Keefe started taking her own photographs. “She expressed her unique perspective through all aspects of her life, and by the time she began her photography practice in the mid-1950s, her singular identity and artistry were well established,” notes the Museum of Fine. Houston Arts.
The exhibition “Georgia O’Keefe, Photographer” runs until January 17, 2022, at the Texas Museum.