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Denver Art Museum

Georgia O'Keeffe "Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land"

Georgia O'Keeffe "Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land"

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From: Denver Art Museum
Limited Edition: 60
Material: Printed 2-ply vinyl
Dimensions: 30" x 89" (76cm x 226cm)

Hanging Hardware Included


When you think of Georgia O'Keeffe, does a red poppy come to mind? Or maybe a nude photograph of her taken by Alfred Stieglitz, renowned photographer and O'Keeffe's husband? As one of the first abstract American painters, O'Keeffe is well-known for her oil paintings of flowers, bones, and mountains. Earlier this year, the Denver Art Museum was host to a traveling O'Keeffe exhibition that looked at the artist anew: that portion of her life from 1929 to 1953 when she represented the solitary artist engaging with the arts and culture of New Mexico. Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land featured 53 O’Keeffe works, including 15 rarely seen paintings of Hopi katsina dolls, which reveal another angle on the long life of this prolific artist.


Starting in 1929, Georgia O'Keeffe left New York City to spend summers in New Mexico. She was absorbed by the beauty of the land and its cultural richness. She was soon embraced by the Hopis who welcomed her at their dances and ceremonies. Katisnam (plural for katsina) are the Hopi spirit beings that have been represented by katsina dolls for 1,000 years. The supernatural beings, believed to visit Hopi villages half of the year, serve as messengers between the spiritual and mortal worlds. Katisnam have power over the weather, among other things, and teach children about Hopi customs.

Inspired by the katsina figurines she observed during cultural and spiritual events, O'Keeffe created many drawings, watercolors and oil paintings of them. She was sensitive to the fact that these customs were not meant for the outside world, and therefore rarely showed them. Art historians generally agree today that such indigenous art is integral to understanding North American art history. As such, O'Keeffe’s 15 works of eight different katsina dolls were shown in the exhibition Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land along with actual katsina figurines as examples of what O'Keeffe was exposed to in her time. However, it is interesting to note that the figurines were excluded from the exhibition’s installation at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe because the nearby Pueblo Indians objected to public display of Katisnam.

Given her Cubist tendencies, it is not surprising that O'Keefe would be attracted to the rectilinear shapes of the New Mexican architecture. The exhibition included some of her paintings of the area's churches and adobe homes as well as crosses, folk art, and the many beautiful hillsides and snow banks of the New Mexican landscape.

The banner used to promote the exhibition is royal blue with white lettering. At the top, the Denver Art Museum's typographic logo appears, and just below it are the sideways vertical letters "Georgia O'Keeffe" in large, capital letters. "Through April 28" appears at the bottom. Both sides of the banner are identical.


This banner was displayed in Denver between February 10 and April 28, 2013. The traveling exhibition began at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey, stopped in Denver, and then continued onto the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, where it showed until September 9, 2013. On September 27, 2013, the exhibition traveled to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ until January 12, 2014.

About the Artist

Learn more about Georgia O'Keeffe

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