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GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (1887-1986)

 
GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Canna Lily - watercolor on paper - 22 x 13 in. GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Canna Lily - watercolor on paper - 22 x 13 in. GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Canna Lily - watercolor on paper - 22 x 13 in. GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Canna Lily - watercolor on paper - 22 x 13 in. GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Canna Lily - watercolor on paper - 22 x 13 in. GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Canna Lily - watercolor on paper - 22 x 13 in. GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Canna Lily - watercolor on paper - 22 x 13 in. GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Canna Lily - watercolor on paper - 22 x 13 in. GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Canna Lily - watercolor on paper - 22 x 13 in. GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Canna Lily - watercolor on paper - 22 x 13 in.
Canna Lily1918-192022 x 13 in.(55.88 x 33.02 cm) watercolor on paper
Provenance
Ruth S. Schaffner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Robert Miller Gallery, New York, New York
Harold Diamond, New York, New York (Purchase), 1977
Private Collection, 1977 to present
 
Exhibition
Georgia O’Keeffe: Paintings and Watercolors, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA, September 7- October 15, 1977 (Number 8)
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 1997
Literature
Barbara Lynes, Georgia O’Keeffe: Catalogue Raisonne, Vol. 1, New Haven 1999, No. 274, p 147, illustrated
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“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

History

When Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” sold for $44.4 million USD in 2014, she became the most expensive female artist at auction. Among the most significant and influential of any American artist, O’Keeffe’s vision of flowers and the American Southwest shaped modernism, and our views of our ourselves. Her paintings simplify objects and lands to layered geometries while bringing new complexities to their meaning. Born in 1887, O’Keeffe made a big splash in New York in the avant-garde circles that included her future husband, Alfred Stieglitz, whom she met in 1916 shortly before painting “Canna Lily.” Her sojourn to New Mexico would have a profound effect on her and she would eventually settle in the area making the town of Taos an artistic mecca, attracting future painters like Agnes Martin (see our virtual room for Agnes Martin’s “Untitled #11” for more information).

More
  • OKeeffe15290_history1
    Georgia O’Keeffe, portrait photograph by Alfred Stieglitz, 1918
  • OKeeffe15290_history2
    Georgia O’Keeffe, Red Canna, watercolor, 19 3/8 x 13 in., 1915, Yale University Art Gallery
  • OKeeffe15290_history3
    Georgia O’Keeffe, Inside Red Canna, oil on canvas, 22 x 17 in., 1919, Private Collection
  • OKeeffe15290_history4
    Georgia O’Keeffe, Abstraction, Seaweed, and Water – Maine, pastel on paper, 28 3/8 x 17 ¾ in., 1920, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
  • OKeeffe15290_history5
    Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, Polaroid, 4 ½ x 3 ½ in., 1980
“I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

Top Results at Auction

“Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” (1932), oil on canvas, 48 x 40 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 20 November 2014 for $44,405,000 USD
“Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” (1932), oil on canvas, 48 x 40 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 20 November 2014 for $44,405,000 USD
“A Street” (1926), oil on canvas, 48 x 30 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 14 November 2018 for $13,285,500 USD
“A Street” (1926), oil on canvas, 48 x 30 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 14 November 2018 for $13,285,500 USD
“Lake George Reflection” (circa 1921-1922), oil on canvas, 58 x 34 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 19 May 2016 for $12,933,000 USD
“Lake George Reflection” (circa 1921-1922), oil on canvas, 58 x 34 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 19 May 2016 for $12,933,000 USD
“Lake George With White Birch” (1921), oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 21 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 14 May 2018 for $11,292,000 USD
“Lake George With White Birch” (1921), oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 21 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 14 May 2018 for $11,292,000 USD

Comparable Paintings Sold at Auction

“Yellow Sweet Peas” (1925), pastel on paperboard, 26 1/2 x 19 3/8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 14 November 2017 for $4,405,300 USD
“Yellow Sweet Peas” (1925), pastel on paperboard, 26 1/2 x 19 3/8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 14 November 2017 for $4,405,300 USD
  • Comparable early year, though a few years after the formative period when O’Keeffe painted Canna Lily
  • Sold for over $4.4 million USD four years ago, demonstrating the strong demand for early, smaller-scale flower works
“A White Camellia” (1938), pastel on board, 21 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 29 November 2012 for $3,218,500 USD
“A White Camellia” (1938), pastel on board, 21 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 29 November 2012 for $3,218,500 USD
  • Similar format to Canna Lily as the composition depicts the full flower with no additional visual elements, though this piece represents a style closer to realism near the height of her career
  • Sold for over $3.2 million USD nearly ten years ago – as the market for O’Keeffe works has grown, this piece would likely command a much higher price if sold today
Blue I (1916), watercolor on paper, 31 x 22 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 24 May 2007 for $3,008,000 USD
Blue I (1916), watercolor on paper, 31 x 22 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 24 May 2007 for $3,008,000 USD
  • From the same early period as Canna Lily and of the same medium, with even more abstracted subject matter
  • Sold for over $3 million USD nearly fifteen years ago, and the O’Keeffe market has grown
“Two Calla Lilies Together” (1923), pastel on paper, 16 x 10 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 05 December 2013 for $1,205,000 USD
“Two Calla Lilies Together” (1923), pastel on paper, 16 x 10 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 05 December 2013 for $1,205,000 USD
  • Comparable early work on paper, though smaller
  • Both Calla Lilies and Canna Lilies were among O’Keeffe’s favorite flowers to depict
  • Sold for over $1.2 million USD in 2013, and since that date, few works on paper of comparable quality have come up for sale at auction

Paintings in Museum Collections

“Drawing XIII” (1915), charcoal on paper, 24 3/8 x 18 ½ in., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
“Drawing XIII” (1915), charcoal on paper, 24 3/8 x 18 ½ in., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This early drawing demonstrates O’Keeffe’s affinity for works on paper and shows her working with organic forms – an early prototype of her blend of realism and abstraction in the colorful flower watercolors and works on paper to come.

“Untitled (Abstraction/Portrait of Paul Strand)” (1917), watercolor on paper, 12 x 9 in., The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, New Mexico
“Untitled (Abstraction/Portrait of Paul Strand)” (1917), watercolor on paper, 12 x 9 in., The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, New Mexico

This experimental watercolor further exemplifies how O’Keeffe would abstract flowers and organic forms. It is a smaller, more abstract, example housed in a major museum collection.

“Train at Night in the Desert” (1916), watercolor on paper, 12 x 9 in., The Museum of Modern Art, New York
“Train at Night in the Desert” (1916), watercolor on paper, 12 x 9 in., The Museum of Modern Art, New York

An earlier and smaller example, “Train at Night in the Desert” shows the spontaneous nature of the artist while working in the watercolor medium.

“Evening Star No. 5” (1917), watercolor on paper, 8 5/8 x 11 5/8 in., The McNay Art Museum, Texas
“Evening Star No. 5” (1917), watercolor on paper, 8 5/8 x 11 5/8 in., The McNay Art Museum, Texas

“Evening Star No. 5” showcases O’Keeffe’s command of subtle abstraction and the elegant brushwork of watercolor, qualities also on display in Canna Lily.

Image Gallery

Additional Resources

Read the L.A. Times article, “Georgia O’Keeffe’s early watercolor paintings: Vivid, free-wheeling and full of surprise”
Watch “Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life in Art” from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which features interviews with the artist
Explore key works from the Tate Modern’s 2016 O’Keeffe retrospective in this video from ArtFundUK

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