Sex or Botany? The Works of Georgia O’ Keeffe

Georgia O’Keefe’s work has captivated many for years and for new artists it will inspire them to be bold and to experiment – to find their own way. In a time where men dominated the art scene, she pushed the boundaries and created her very own unique style. For decades she denied that the bold and beautiful depictions of flowers were erotic art, that her depictions of flowers weren’t vaginas yet even to this day feminists are hailing her as a hero of female sexuality in the art world. Yet according to The Guardian in reference to the Tate Modern undertaking an exhibition of her work back in 2016:

The Freudian theory that her flower paintings were actually close studies of the female vulva were first put forward in 1919 by Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer who first promoted O’Keeffe’s work and later became her husband.
…the Tate retrospective would illustrate how this “cliched interpretation”, written almost 100 years ago and perpetuated by male art critics at the time, was “gendered and outdated”.


Do you view them as a reflection of female sexuality or a study in botany?

Black Iris
Grey Lines with Black, Blue and Yellow
Music Pink and Blue ii
Jack in the Pulpit

Header Image: (Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images)

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