Tuesday, January 23, through Friday, August 31
Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA
A landmark work by renowned painter Georgia O'Keefe will be on display in the Figge's American Scene Gallery beginning January 23, as the artist's 1924 Flower Abstraction arrives on generous loan from New York's Whitney Museum of American Art.
On local view as reciprocity for the Grant Wood artworks and City of Davenport Art Collection objects included in the Whitney's current exhibit Grant Wood: American Gothic & Other Fables, Flower Abstraction was painted in 1924 after O’Keeffe had joined the circle of avant-garde artists that formed around the charismatic photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz, whom she would later marry. The cropping of the image reflects the influence of photographers such as Paul Strand, who were using the camera to make innovative abstract images. By enlarging and abstracting her subject, O’Keeffe sought to call attention to her own singular view of nature. As she wrote:
“A flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations with a flower – the idea of flowers. You put out your hand and touch the flower – lean forward to smell it, maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking – or give it to someone to please them. Still, in a way, nobody sees a flower really – it is so small, and we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
O’Keeffe’s flower paintings caught the attention of critics, who interpreted their soft colors and ruffled forms as an expression of female eroticism and the sensibilities of a woman artist. To which O’Keeffe responded: “Well – I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower – and I don’t.”
Museum hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays) and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information on Flower Abstraction and the Figge's many exhibits, programs, and events, call (563)326-7804 or visit FiggeArtMuseum.org.