“My New Yorks would turn the world over.”
—Georgia O’Keeffe, about 1925
Famed for her images of flowers and Southwestern landscapes, Georgia O’Keeffe spent several years exploring the built environment of New York City with brush in hand. The artist first moved to the city’s newly built Shelton Hotel in 1924, then the tallest residential skyscraper in the world, and its soaring heights inspired a five-year period of energetic experimentation, across media and at a variety of scales, with subject matter, form, and perspective.
She created street-level compositions capturing the city’s monumental skyscrapers from below and suspended views looking down from her 30th-floor apartment. O’Keeffe called these works “my New Yorks” and through them investigated the dynamic potential of New York’s cityscape—the organic and the inorganic, the natural and the constructed. As she put it, “One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt.”
This exhibition is the first to seriously examine O’Keeffe’s paintings, drawings, and pastels of urban landscapes, while also situating them in the diverse context of her other compositions of the 1920s and early 1930s.
The presentation establishes these works not as outliers or anomalous to her practice, but rather as entirely integral to her modernist investigation in the 1920s—from her abstractions and still lifes at Lake George in upstate New York and beyond to her works upon arriving in the Southwest in 1929. O’Keeffe’s “New Yorks” are essential to understanding how she became the artist we know today.
Georgia O’Keeffe: “My New Yorks” is curated by the Art Institute’s Sarah Kelly Oehler, Field-McCormick Chair and Curator, Arts of the Americas, and vice president, Curatorial Strategy, and Annelise K. Madsen, Gilda and Henry Buchbinder Associate Curator, Arts of the Americas. The accompanying richly illustrated catalogue will feature a series of essays that presents new scholarship and viewpoints on this formative group of works.
Major support is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris, an anonymous donor, Richard F. and Christine F. Karger, the Shure Charitable Trust, Richard and Ann Carr, Pam Conant, Constance and David Coolidge, Mr. and Mrs. John T. Golitz, the Jentes Family, Loretta and Allan Kaplan, and Margot Levin Schiff and the Harold Schiff Foundation.
Additional funding is provided by the Jack and Peggy Crowe Fund, the Suzanne and Wesley M. Dixon Exhibition Fund, and The Regenstein Foundation Fund.
Members of the Luminary Trust provide annual leadership support for the museum’s operations, including exhibition development, conservation and collection care, and educational programming. The Luminary Trust includes an anonymous donor, Karen Gray-Krehbiel and John Krehbiel, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris, Josef and Margot Lakonishok, Ann and Samuel M. Mencoff, Sylvia Neil and Dan Fischel, Cari and Michael J. Sacks, and the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation.
Additional support is provided by