For the first time in decades and just in time for spring, an exhibition of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings is currently on view at the De Young Museum. Originally from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O’Keeffe started out as a little seed within the exclusive garden of New York City and soon blossomed into one of the most creative women artists in history.
In the 1920’s, O’Keeffe looked at flowers blooming through a magnifying glass and created enlarged paintings of it. She was known for her depictions of flowers because she was the first to relate “female iconography” with art, or so as the 1970’s feminists claim.
Among her famous blossoming beauties, “Petunia” is the featured painting at the De Young Museum. The three central petunias overwhelm the viewers because the painting is hung high enough to give the illusion that the flowers are above you. The center bloom is looking straight at the viewer while the outer flowers blend to the center one. O’Keeffe uses purple as her main color with hints of grey and fading blues. Walking up to the painting, the viewer will be convinced the painting is hung upside down because the flowers are blooming downwards. Normally O’Keeffe would sign her paintings on the back but in this exception she signs it on the painting, which gives us the proper display direction.
Aside from Petunia, the De Young is also displaying “Lake George,” “Autumn Leaves,” and “Starlight Night.” The exhibit is on display from Feb. 15 to May 11, and open every day except on Mondays and students only pay $22 for admission. Aside from being able to view the entire De Young Museum, visitors also have admittance to the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, as long as the visit is on the same day.