OKeeffe & StieglitzPhotography and Early American
Alfred StieglitzStieglitz begins as one of the Pictorialist
leaders in AmericaBy the beginning of the 20th century converts to
support Strait Photography.He was instrumental in opening the doors
to America for the avant-garde. He Published a magazine ( Camera
works,1903-17).He also ran his own gallery ( Gallery 291, 1905-17)
which showcased works by modern artists (i.e. Picasso, Matisse,
& Cezanne) in America for the first time.Stieglitz arranged
exhibits of O'Keeffe's works, helped sell her works.
The Asphalt Paver, 1892/1913Pictorialism - A style of soft focus
photograph, originating in Europe, which attempts to imitate
In the New York Central Yards 1907
Monet, Saint-Lazare Train Station 1877Pictorialism attempted to
be accepted as an art form by trying to look like the accepted
gallery styles like Impressionism.
Haystack at Sunset 1891
The Steerage, 1907Strait PhotographyResulting from a call to
"let photographs look like photographs," it was the first
distinctly American style. Unlike Pictorialism it contains sharp
focus, detail, and carefully planed compositions.
The Steerage, 1907One of Stieglitzs hallmark photographs, The
Steerage (1915), produces a very different effect. This is a
photograph of working class people crowding two decks of a
transatlantic steamer. The subjects are in sharp focus and the
composition is inclined toward geometric elements.
Georgia OKeeffe, 1933
Georgia OKeeffeHer relationship with Stieglitz started out as an
affair, but they eventually married.Stieglitz took over 300 photos
of OKeeffe.She established her reputation at 291, after America was
introduced to the avant-garde at the famous 1913 Armory Show.
Georgia OKeeffeAt this time in America her work was considered
by the establishment controversial & shocking.Eventually modern
works like these in America became the new establishment, and N.Y
would become the new center of the art world after Paris.
Black Iris, 1926Forms are always from nature no matter how
distorted.Swooping forms of petals and stamen fill the entire
Black Iris, 1926Size heightens the importance of the otherwise
traditional subject.Influenced by close-up photography.
Oriental Poppies, 1927
The compositions contain bold line, pure colour, and subtle
tone.Images like these take on the power and scope of a
Jack-in-the-Pulpit Series, 1930In 1930, Georgia O'Keeffe painted
a series of six canvases depicting a jack-in-the-pulpit. The series
begins with the striped and hooded bloom rendered with a botanist's
care in naturalistic detail.It continues with successively more
abstract and tightly focused depictions, and ends with the essence
of the jack-in-the-pulpit.In this image a haloed black pistil
stands alone against a black, purple, and gray field.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, No.IV, 1930This work represents a midpoint
in this process of concurrently increasing detail and
abstraction.O'Keeffe consistently found her strongest inspiration
in nature. She believed that the essence of nature could be
discovered in and through the refinement of form.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, No. IV, 1930In the jack-in-the-pulpits,
abstraction becomes a metaphor of, and an equivalent for,
knowledge.The closest view of the flower yields an abstract
image.The most profound knowledge of the subject reveals its
Her series was influenced by the European artist, Mondrians
series of trees that contain a continuous evolution into