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Cincinnati Art Museum acquires Georgia O'Keeffe painting
Georgia O’Keeffe, My Back Yard, 1943. Oil on canvas. Cincinnati Art Museum; Museum Purchase: The Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial, Fanny Bryce Lehmer Endowment, Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Wichgar, John J. Emery Endowment, Mr. and Mrs. Harry S. Leyman Endowment, and Rieveschl Collection Fund.© Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation / Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY.
CINCINNATI, OH.- The Cincinnati Art Museum has acquired its first Georgia O’Keeffe painting. The Art Museum purchased “My Back Yard” at Christie’s Auction House in New York Thursday morning.

O’Keeffe (1887-1986), the celebrated American modernist, painted “My Back Yard” in 1943 from her Ghost Ranch home in Abiquiu, about six years after moving to New Mexico. The 18- by 24- inch oil on canvas depicts the Southwest landscape she loved so well, showing rugged cliffs and mesas in earthy red and yellow colors.

“One of the things I like about the painting’s history is that O’Keeffe gave it to her sister, Claudia. That suggests to you the personal importance that the painting had to her,” said Julie Aronson, the Art Museum’s Curator of American Painting, Sculpture and Drawings.

“While she’s depicting an actual place, at the same time it’s quite abstract,” Aronson said. “I love the contrast between the greens and the rich warm apricot color. She gets that lyrical, sensual modulation in the cliffs, but the sky is a flat blue color.”

The Art Museum learned just three weeks ago that the painting would go up for auction, said Aronson, who had Director Aaron Betsky and a conservator view it in New York . “It’s in beautiful condition,” she said. The staff anticipates that the new acquisition will be on display in Cincinnati in several months. The Art Museum paid $1.5 million plus buyer’s costs for the work, and the acquisition was paid for through endowment funds restricted for art purchase.

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