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Georgia O'Keeffe Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Claire DeSaussure

Claire has worked in behavioral programs at the Elementary Level and has an MLS with a focus on Creative Writing.

Georgia O'Keeffe was one of the most important female artists, both in the United States of America and the world. She is most remembered for her paintings of flowers and the colors of New Mexico.

How It All Began

Have people ever tried to tell you that you need to do things in a certain way? Were you brave enough to try your own way even though you were scared? Georgia O'Keeffe was a woman who is remembered for her art because she showed the courage to be herself and create in an unusual way.

Georgia was born in Wisconsin in 1887. In 1905, she went to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. Later, she studied at the Arts Student League in New York, and she learned about painting a style called realism. Realism means that you paint things so everyone knows what it is.

A Photograph of Georgia
Georgia

When Things Changed

Georgia was a brilliant painter, but she felt unhappy because she wanted to create something in her own way. In 1912, Georgia learned about the work of a man called Arthur Wesley Dow. Dow's work changed Georgia's life forever.

When O'Keeffe was teaching art in South Carolina and Texas, she had time to use what she had learned from Dow in her work and try abstract forms. Abstract art is when you draw or paint things that other people may not recognize. When people look at abstract art, the images mean different things to different people. Georgia put her feelings on paper as colors and shapes, and this work made Georgia feel truly alive. She was the only person creating art like this and she sometimes felt alone.

The abstract painting titled Blue and Green Music
Blue-Green

Gallery Shows

In 1916, Alfred Steiglitz was shown some of Georgia's abstract drawings and he loved her work! He owned a gallery in New York called 291 and he put some of Georgia's work in an art show. Steiglitz also loved Georgia, and they dated and eventually married in 1924. Georgia's artistic courage paid off, and people thought her work was beautiful in a way they had not seen before. O'Keeffe painted flowers, such as calla lilies, close up, so that only parts of the flower could be seen. These paintings are some of the ones that people still love today.

New Mexico

In 1929, Georgia visited New Mexico, and fell in love with the bright colors and bare landscape. Some of her most famous paintings are of the skulls she found in the desert there and the red colors of the rocks. When her husband Alfred died, Georgia decided to go and live in New Mexico permanently, and she moved there in 1949.

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