About This Artwork

Georgia O'Keeffe
American, 1887-1986

Ballet Skirt or Electric Light, 1927

Oil on canvas
91.4 x 76.2 cm (36 x 30 in.)

Alfred Stieglitz Collection, bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe, 1987.250.1

© The Art Institute of Chicago

While living in New York in 1914–15, Georgia O’Keeffe was exposed to European modernism through exhibitions of the works of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and others at Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery 291, and she developed her own organic style of abstraction in response. In the 1920s Georgia O’Keeffe began creating the paintings of enlarged flowers for which she is most famous. In 1927 she produced a series of works devoted to the white rose; this picture is her most abstracted depiction of the subject. O’Keeffe simplified the energy of the blooming rose down to its essence, so that it resembles a brilliant light radiating out of flat Cubist planes. She exhibited this painting as White Rose—Abstraction at Alfred Stieglitz’s Intimate Gallery in 1928. She retitled it Ballet Skirt or Electric Light (from the White Rose Motif) when she lent it to the Art Institute’s 1943 retrospective of her work.

— Permanent collection label




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