Monday, February 22, 2010

Although she is a lot more famous for her oils, I think I like her watercolors just as well and maybe more. I remember seeing a room full of them at the O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe last year. They are tiny, many only about 10 x 12, and they date from the early part of her career when she was living in rural Texas, teaching art. Perhaps if you're not interested in clearing brush, making art might sound like a good alternative.

Evidently she had seen an exhibit of Rod
in watercolors a few years earlier while living in New York, and had not forgotten them. At right is Rodin's Reclining Nude, 1900.

Here's another of Rodin's from his series of nudes. Uses line in a way O'Keeffe does not.

She takes a bolder approach, doesn't she? Above left is a somewhat larger piece- 18 x 13 1/2- part of Nude Series VII. What do you think? I really like the minimum of detail, lack of features, strong negative shapes; there's no concern for precise proportions (that big hand just feels right the way it is), but such sensitivity to those curves. I'm sure there's more that makes this work, but I can't put my finger on it.


  1. In her recently published memoir, Stanford professor Terry Castle dismisses the work of Georgia O'Keeffe as "kitsch", with Agnes Martin as the antidote. Later, she amends her opinion of O'Keeffe, particularly her early work (some of which you feature here). You can read a good review of the book here.

  2. Thanks for posting that - hilarious - took a look online at Agnes Martin, too, since I'd never heard of her - interesting minimalist paintings - not a cow skull in sight.

  3. Suzanne,

    These are lovely! I'm a fan of Rodin's watercolors like the one you show . . . good to see the connection with Georgia.

    Agnes Martin is someone I am trying to understand. Seems to me she's for essential free movements, unrestained colors & absolutely nothing extraneous. My old ballet teacher would say, there's no abandon without control. Others say, the constraints allow for freedom.

    I say, Thanks, as always, Suzanne!