In a field historically dominated by men, Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the first modern females to rise from anonymity and gain respect and prestige in the contemporary art world. A recent article featured on PRWeb has broadcasted an announcement from the Georgia O’Keeffe museum in New Mexico, stating the institution’s plans for celebrating her 125th birthday on November 15th. O’Keeffe is considered a foremother of the feminist art movement because she pursued her own creative individuality when women were not recognized in the art world and broke through to launch a successful career. In Rakow’s essay “Feminist Approaches To Popular Culture: Giving Patriarchy It’s Due” she questions and explores how women have been able to express themselves in a patriarchal society and how their creativity has been overlooked and undervalued in years past. O’Keeffe is one woman who saw these injustices, yet strived regardless to make a name for herself in the andocentric territory of art. After struggling through many years of hardship, she finally managed to express herself through charcoal and oil paintings that depicted natural beauty. Her style differed from the conventional norms of the present; not only did she experiment with a different style of art, but she was a woman doing so in a male dominated realm of expertise. O’Keeffe herself recognized the inferiority historically assigned to women’s creativity. In a letter dating back to 1930 she wrote, “I often wonder what would have happened to me if I had been a man instead of a woman” (Robinson, 508). Despite being a woman, O’Keeffe’s works of art have been firmly integrated in the popular modern art scene for almost a century now; her first charcoal drawings brought her renown in 1916 and in 1946 the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan made her the first female artist to be featured in a retrospective there. Although women’s creativity has been overlooked and repressed for hundreds of years, O’Keeffe has succeeded in expressing herself through art and by doing so, subsequently risen to become a household name.
O’Keeffe “Red Canna” (1924)
O’Keeffe “Banana Flower” (1934)
Robinson, Roxana. Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life. Lebanon, NH: Harper & Row, 1989. 508. Print.
“The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Announces Events Celebrating Artist’s 125th Birthday.” PRWeb. N.p., 04 Oct 2012. Web. 9 Oct 2012. <http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/10/prweb9980479.htm>.
Women in History. Georgia O’Keeffe biography. Last Updated: 3/31/2012. Lakewood Public Library. Date accessed 10/9/2012. <http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/okee-geo.htm>.