SDMA is the final venue for a nationally touring exhibition of works by iconic artist Georgia O’Keeffe and five other women modernists who paved her way. With more than 80 works on view, the exhibition is the first to present works by these women together in the same context.
In addition to major examples of O’Keeffe’s work, the exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view the alluring imagery of Gertrude Käsebier, Pamela Colman Smith, Anne Brigman, and Katharine Rhoades. All of them were eminent artists who were promoted in the first decade of the 20th century by Alfred Stieglitz, the renowned New York gallerist and photographer. Stieglitz subsequently exhibited and promoted O’Keeffe’s work beginning in 1916 and became her husband in 1924.
The female artists in this exhibition were able to break free from many limiting social conventions of the early 20th century. Like Stieglitz, they were interested in redefining the identity of the modern woman and explored the changing themes of femininity in modernism. Their work is an essential, but often overlooked, chapter in the history of the American avant-garde.
Georgia O’Keeffe and the Women of the Stieglitz Circle reveals the traditional maternal world found in the work of Käsebier, as well as the drama of the new woman’s struggle for freedom in the nude studies of Brigman. In addition, Smith’s and Rhoades’ experiments with mystical and abstract landscapes resonate with the unconscious mind.
O’Keeffe’s remarkable play of color and abstract form illustrate a path-breaking spirit of bold modernity. The exhibition includes early and rarely seen abstracted landscapes, works that originated from her experience in nature and are surprising for their visual dynamism and pared-down simplicity.
In the work of O’Keeffe, Stieglitz found a partner and the embodiment of the consummate modernist artist. Reinforcing the importance that Stieglitz placed in her artistic persona, the exhibition includes a vital sampling of the numerous photographs he took of O’Keeffe, presenting her as the iconic woman, favored model, and quintessential American modernist.
Georgia O’Keeffe and the Women of the Stieglitz Circle is co-organized by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and High Museum of Art. It is supported in part by The National Endowment for the Arts, The Burnett Foundation, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum National Council.
Local presentation is made possible by the generosity of Charles and Tanya Brandes. Additional support is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the members of the San Diego Museum of Art.