Artist. She was one of seven children, growing up on a dairy farm outside of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Her high school education was spent at the Sacred Heart Academy later moving to Williamsburg, Virginia in 1913 where her family had already relocated. After graduating from the Chatham Episcopal Institute in 1905 she continued on to the School of Art Institute of Chicago. In 1908 she was awarded the League's William Chase award for her still-life painting, which was held in New York City. She had been corresponding with Alfred Stieglitz, and after seeing her work he offered her financial support for one year, allowing her to paint while living in the apartment of one of his relatives in New York. She and Alfred fell in love, and were married in 1924 immediately after his divorce was final. While in New York, she changed mediums from watercolors to oils and she began painting extreme large-scale views of flowers, bones and skulls, and many landscapes, as she is so well known for today. Her husband held exhibitions annually of her work during the 1920's. As an artist she is recognized as a prominent figure of early American art. Her works were well sought after, reflected in a set selling for $25,000 in 1928, a lofty amount for a still living artist. Visiting New Mexico in 1917 she fell in love with the area and returned back to it year after year, for her love of painting the landscape and architecture as well as the bone still-lives she had become greatly interested in. In 1932 she had a nervous breakdown due to an unfinished mural for Radio City Music Hall. She was hospitalized, and did not paint again until early 1934. Her popularity never faltered, and she received two one-woman retrospectives among many other honors. After the passing of her husband in 1946, she moved about three years later to New Mexico permanently. It wasn't until 1970 when she had another art exhibition held at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibition brought her to the public's attention once again. Due to the loss of her sight in the mid 1970's, she was forced to give up her much loved painting in oils, although she did continue to work with pencil as well as watercolors through 1982. She also worked on her illustrated autobiography entitled "Georgia O'Keefe" and it was published in 1976, and was a best seller. A year later, President Gerald Ford gave her a Medal of Freedom, as well as President Ronald Reagan gave her a Medal of Arts in 1985. Needing more medical assistance she moved to Santa Fe, finally passing away at the ripe old age of 98 in St. Vincent's Hospital. Her home and studio are open for tours in Abiguiu, New Mexico to take a glimpse into her life as it has never been changed from her departure in 1984. The Georgia O'Keefe Museum was founded in November of 1995 and opened to the public on July 17 1997, holding the largest permanent collection of her art works on display anywhere. The museum is known for being the very first of its kind within the United States, honoring a single woman artist dedicated to the survival of her legacy through her artwork.
Bio by: The Guardian
1864–1946 (m. 1924)