Take Home Essay
Georgia O’Keefe’s works were often mistakenly interpreted for having very sexual elements incorporated in them. These misinterpretations were usually by men. O’Keefe often claimed that her work was never intended to have any sexual implications at all.
Georgia O’Keefe wanted her work to express feelings that she could not explain with words. Feelings about herself as a woman of her time. She felt that women could not speak out and act for themselves. But the male critics instead viewed her paintings to be sexual in their expressions. This may have been due to her husband, Alfred Stieglitz’s nude and partially nude photographs of her that were often showed in galleries along side O’Keefe’s paintings. The erotic feeling that was given by these nude pictures easily opened ways to interpret a work like O’Keefe’s Flower Abstraction (1924) as a piece representing labia-like forms.
O’Keefe was influenced by gaps, and crevices. This is why some works may be interpreted as sexual. For example her piece titled Black and White (1930) was interpreted as sexual activity, when in reality she was just showing her infatuation with crevices. This idea was also exemplified in her piece, City Night (1926) which depicted a ground view of skyscrapers. This showed her influence of gaps, and canyons. She was also influenced by Kandinsky’s approach to representing sound, visually. This is evident in her piece From the Plains I (1919).
Stieglitz promoted these incorrect ideas behind O’Keefe’s work. He was often even considered the creator of it! Critics believed that since these paintings were of O’Keefe’s sexual feelings, and since Stieglitz is the one that gives her these feelings, he was the real artist behind the work. This illustrates O’Keefe’s belief that a woman did not have a voice, and that women were over-shadowed by men.
O’Keefe was not particularly upset that her work was...