Georgia O’Keeffe Quotes

Georgia Totto O’Keeffe, 1887 – 1986

Born: 15 November 1887, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Died: 6 March 1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico

O’Keeffe decided to pursue a career in art at age ten and took lessons from a local artist. Her family moved to Virginia but Georgia stayed in Wisconsin for a while, going to three high schools before graduating in 1905. She studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students’ League at New York, then returned to Chicago and worked in commercial art. She had stopped painting for a while and was teaching school at Amarillo, Texas when she sent some landscape drawings to a friend at New York City. The friend showed them to gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz who, without O’Keeffe’s knowledge, staged her first gallery show in 1916. At first upset by this, she allowed the show to continue and moved to New York the next year, married Stieglitz. She was stifled by family and friends at the Steiglitz summer home at Lake George, New York and spent the summer of 1929 at Santa Fe, New Mexico; she spent part of each year painting in New Mexico for twenty years and returned there after Steiglitz died in 1946. In 1972 O’Keeffe’s eyesight was severely degraded by macular degeneration, leaving her with only peripheral vision. She stopped painting in oils but continued to do some work in pencil, charcoal, and clay until 1984. She moved from her ranch to Santa Fe in 1984. President Ford awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and she was given the National Medal of arts in 1985. O’Keeffe was able to move in close to nature and give us a rich and subtle look at things, particularly flowers, that is both precisely pictorial and abstract.

Georgia O’Keeffe quotes:

A flower touches everyone’s heart.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

All the earth colours of the painter’s palette are out there in the many miles of badlands.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

Did you ever have something to say and feel as if the whole side of the wall wouldn’t be big enough to say it on, and then sit down on the floor and try to get it onto a sheet of charcoal paper?
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I am not an exponent of expressionism. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I don’t like the sound of it. I dislike cults and isms. I want to paint in terms of my own thinking and feeling.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I decided to accept as true my own thinking.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I don’t see why we ever think of what others think of what we do — no matter who they are. Isn’t it enough just to express yourself?
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I don’t very much enjoy looking at paintings in general. I know too much about them. I take them apart.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I feel there is something unexplored about a woman that only a woman can explore.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I found I could say things with colors that I couldn’t say in any other way — things that I had no words for.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I get out my work and have a show for myself before I have it publicly. I make up my own mind about it — how good or bad or indifferent it is. After that the critics can write what they please.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I hate flowers. I only paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I have been terrified every day of my life, but that has never stopped me from doing everything I wanted to do.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I have lived on a razor’s edge. So what if you fall off? I’d rather be doing something I really wanted to do. I’d walk it again.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

I know I cannot paint a flower. I cannot paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning, but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time.
    Georgia O’Keeffe

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