1907 – 1960
Age of Global Conflict

O'Keeffe's The Lawrence Tree


Georgia O'Keeffe, The Lawrence Tree, 1929, oil on canvas, 31 x 40 inches,
(Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford)

Painted in the summer of 1929 while visiting D.H. Lawrence at his Kiowa Ranch
during O'Keeffe's first trip to New Mexico, the tree stands in front of the house.

Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker

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cc wrote on Thursday, March 10, 2011

Having studied George O’Keeffe’s work I found it interesting to see posted here an image of her earlier work, before her popularity with the well known flower paintings. It is interesting to see that it is an image of a tree showing her interest in the organic and nature. A lot has been written about O’Keeffe’s work and the belief her paintings of the flowers are more than just flower; some believing them to be images of female genitalia. However seeing this work gives the idea that maybe she was just interested in painting nature and painting things that were around her or she had access to. In fact she never admitted her paintings of the flowers were of genitalia so maybe she was just painting flowers after all. It is stated that this tree was in front of her home therefore it was easy for her to be able to paint which is more then likely what she did. O’Keeffe paints what she had access too, which is another great aspect to her work as she traveled and in a way documented her journey. For example, when she went to Mexico she painted many images of what she would have found it the desert. For example one of her works from this time is: Ram's Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills, 1935 showing more that she had an interest in the natural and found beauty in it. Although her flowers are beautiful, this work was nice to see as it is not as abstract, it allows the viewer to experience the work through O’Keeffe’s eyes by the way we look up at the tree and possibly the stars. This then allows the viewer to go through their memories when they have stopped to look up at the starry sky creating a more intense experience for the viewer.

Katherine Toy Miller wrote on Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Neither O'Keeffe or Stieglitz ever met Lawrence. They corresponded with him for a while around the time he was publishing Lady Chatterley's Lover , which they read and supported, in 1928 just before O'Keeffe came to Taos. Their mutual friend, the painter Dorothy Brett, was caretaker of the ranch when O'Keeffe painted the tree which Lawrence had written about. This work shows the oriental influence of her teacher Arthur Wesley Dow.

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