One of the highlights of the major Georgia OKeeffe (1887-1986) retrospective opening at Tate Modern
this summer will be the celebrated flower painting,Jimson Weed, White Flower No. 1 1932. This iconic painting is an important example of the artists investigations into still life, and particularly the flowers for which she is most famous.
The painting of a humble garden weed is being loaned to Tate Modern from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas. This will be the first time the work is displayed outside the US since being acquired by the Museum in 2014. It is the most expensive painting sold at auction by a female artist.
The Jimson weed bloom is native to New Mexico and the focus OKeeffe affords it in the painting reflects her growing affinity with the region in the 1930s - an association that would continue throughout her lifetime. Being fond of this particular plant, she allowed Jimson weed to flourish around her patio at her home in Abiquiu and made it the subject of multiple works, each time presenting a new viewpoint. The frontal perspective on the flower in Jimson Weed, White Flower No.1 1932 and the symmetry this gives the composition, makes it a particularly striking work in the series.
The painting reveals the profound influence OKeeffe took from modernist photography its concern with the study of form, use of close up or magnification and cropping - a practice that was influenced by her professional and personal relationship with husband and photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1865-1946), as well as her close friendships with a number of other photographers.
Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of Exhibitionsat Tate Modern, said: We are delighted to be showing this iconic work by OKeeffe for the first time in the UK for over twenty years and would like to give thanks to Crystal Bridges Museum for making this possible. The exhibition offers a rare opportunity for European audiences to view OKeeffes work in such depth and what better moment to celebrate her influential career than 100 years after her debut andcoinciding with the opening of the new Tate Modern.
Rod Bigelow, Executive Director of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, said: We consider this significant painting by Georgia OKeeffe a treasured work in Crystal Bridges collection. Were pleased to be able to share it with the Tate as a part of the OKeeffe retrospective to offer a wide audience of museum visitors the opportunity to view and experience this painting.
Widely recognised as a founding figure of American modernism, OKeeffe gained a central place within the avant-garde art scene between the 1910s and the 1970s. Spanning the six decades in which OKeeffe was at her most productive and featuring over 100 major works, the forthcoming exhibition at Tate Modern will chart the progression of her practice from her early abstract experiments to her late works from the 1950s and 1960s, aiming to dispel the clichés that persist about the artist and her painting.
Georgia OKeeffe opens at Tate Modern on 6 July 2016, curated by Tanya Barson, Curator, Tate Modern with Hannah Johnston, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. The exhibition is organised by Tate Modern in collaboration with Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.