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Art Gallery of Ontario partners with Tate Modern to present Georgia O'Keeffe retrospective
Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918. Photograph, palladium print on paper, 243 x 192 mm. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles © The J. Paul Getty Trust.

TORONTO.- The Art Gallery of Ontario is set to present a major retrospective of pioneering American painter Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), featuring over 100 paintings by one the 20th century’s most successful and influential modernists. The exhibition will examine O’Keeffe’s entire career, charting the progression of her practice from her early abstract experiments to her late work, in addition to her trajectory west, and her profound influence and legacy. Organized by Tate Modern in collaboration with the AGO and the Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna, Georgia O’Keeffe will make its only North American stop in Toronto in the summer of 2017.

Opening with the moment of her first showings at the 291 gallery in New York in 1916 and 1917, the exhibition will feature O’Keeffe’s earliest mature works made while she was working as a teacher in Virginia and Texas. The works on display—from her charcoals to a select group of vibrant watercolours and oils— investigate the relationship of form to landscape, music, colour and composition, and reveal O’Keeffe’s growing interest in synaesthesia: the ability to interpret music as colour.

A section in the exhibition will consider O’Keeffe’s professional and personal relationship with her husband, world-renowned photographer, art dealer and modern art advocate Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946). A selection of photography by Stieglitz will be shown, including portraits and nudes of O’Keeffe, as well as key figures from the avant-garde art circle of the time, including Marsden Hartley (1877–1943) and John Marin (1870–1953).

Still life formed an important theme within O’Keeffe’s work, most notably in her representations and abstractions of flowers. The exhibition will explore how these works reflect the influence she took from modernist photography.O’Keeffe’s most persistent source of inspiration, however, was nature and the landscape; she painted both figurative works and abstractions drawn from landscape subjects. From the Faraway, Nearby (1937) and Red and Yellow Cliffs (1940)—both on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York—chart the artist’s progressive immersion in New Mexico’s distinctive geography. Stylized paintings of the location she called the “Black Place” will be at the heart of the exhibition.

“This partnership with Tate Modern adds to the slate of major collaborations we have established with some of the best art institutions in the world,” says Stephanie Smith, AGO Chief Curator. “Due to its depth, scope, and its focus on dispelling persistent clichés surrounding the work of this great artist, this will be one of the most significant exhibitions of O’Keeffe’s art ever presented in Canada. We’re delighted to work with our colleauges in London to bring it to Toronto.”

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