Dairy Farmer’s Daughter

6 March, marks the day that artist Georgia O’Keeffe, died in 1986. She was born in 1887 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and attended High School in Madison. She began work as a commercial artist in Chicago, in 1906. By the 1920’s she had already become well known, not only for her innovative contributions to the art world in which she used an abstract technique to paint simple objects, particularly flowers, but also for her independent spirit. Her acceptance in the art world was unusual for it’s time, within a decade of moving to New York City, she was commanding the highest prices of any female artist in the country.

Besides art collectors and patrons, she also drew the attention of many famous photographers who produced her portrait.  At her ranch in New Mexico she hosted everyone from aviator Charles Lindbergh to Beat poet Allen Ginsburg. Inspired by the landscape around her ranch she wrote, “the cliffs over there are almost painted for you—you think—until you try to paint them.”

In 1977, President Gerald Ford presented O’Keeffe with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1985, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Ronald Reagan.

A sample of her work appears below…