Red Hills with Flowers, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1937
I encountered an O’Keeffe coffee table book years ago, when my knowledge of art was young. I did not know much about Georgia O’Keeffe except that she was female, American, and liked big flowers. As I paged through the colorful, glossy book, I felt slightly embarrassed, as if I was looking at something too private or too explicit. Yet, I knew there could be nothing morally wrong with her art because I completely trusted and respected the owner of the book. Since then, I’ve never seriously studied O’Keeffe’s art, or even taken a serious interest in it, but my appreciation of her art has changed from slightly embarrassed to mostly sympathetic. Here is a woman painting flowers, scenes from the landscapes she is familiar with, and she is doing this with boldness, unashamed. I don’t know what her own personality was like, but I’m guessing her art spoke louder than the rest of her. I can sympathize with that.