First Exhibition Devoted to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Photography On View

By: CultureOwl
Visual Arts
First Exhibition Devoted to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Photography On View

In February 2022, the Addison Gallery of American Art will present Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer, the first exhibition devoted to a largely unknown aspect of the iconic American artist’s practice. While O’Keeffe is acclaimed for her paintings and works on paper, her photography was an equally essential expression of her artistic vision.

Reframing views through the lens of her camera, O’Keeffe saw her environment as an array of possible shapes and forms. Moving from right to left, angling the camera from high to low, or turning it vertically and horizontally, she composed and recomposed her photographs to find harmonious compositions. Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer features nearly 100 rarely seen photographs from a previously unstudied archive, alongside a selection of her paintings and drawings. To accompany Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer, the Addison has organized two complementary exhibitions that offer important context for this deeper exploration of O’Keeffe’s work.

 “As a museum that has championed photography since our founding nearly a century ago, we are particularly excited to explore O’Keeffe’s work through this new lens,” said Allison Kemmerer, the Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art. “The depth of our collection gives us the opportunity to draw on our holdings to give a deeper perspective on O’Keeffe’s early career—as well as the ideas and influences that inspired her throughout her life—and share fresh insights on her achievements.”

Arthur Wesley Dow: Nearest to the Divine, organized by the Addison’s Robert M. Walker Associate Curator of American Art​ Gordon Wilkins, will include photographs, prints, and paintings by the influential artist and educator Arthur Wesley Dow, who instructed O’Keeffe during her time at Teachers College, Columbia University. The exhibition, drawn almost entirely from the Addison’s George and Barbara Wright Collection of works by Arthur Wesley Dow, will present Dow’s work and the ephemera he collected on his global travels, most significantly to Japan, as well as his pioneering theories of composition that had a profound, lifelong influence on O’Keeffe. Dow’s radically anti-academic, mystical approach to artmaking, with its emphasis on channeling emotion and personal vision through the “the trinity of power” inherent in harmonious design—line, notan (the balance of dark and light), and color rather than faithful representation— is evidenced in the works on view and was a transformative force in O’Keeffe’s artistic practice throughout her life.

“What Next?”: Camera Work and 291 Magazine, organized by the Addison’s Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Fellow Tessa Hite, will feature photogravures from the deluxe photography journal Camera Work, as well as avant-garde drawings and visual poems published in 291 magazine. Alfred Stieglitz launched Camera Work (1903–1917) to promote photography as a fine art, and during the course of its print run, the photographs featured shifted in style from soft-focused Pictorialism to a more hard-edged modernist approach. With its daring design, 291 magazine (1915–1916)—created by Marius de Zayas, Agnes Ernst Meyer, and Paul Haviland, and financially backed by Stieglitz—was a forum for international artists to experiment and collaborate. Issues of both groundbreaking publications were donated to the Addison by Georgia O’Keeffe and Elizabeth Davidson in 1953.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Photographer is on view February 26–June 12, 2022. Arthur Wesley Dow: Nearest to the Divine and “What Next?”: Camera Work and 291 Magazine are on view February 26-through July 31, 2022..

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