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Georgia O'Keeffe Museum acquires rare O'Keeffe painting
Georgia O’Keeffe, The Barns, Lake George, 1926. Oil on canvas, 21 x 32 in. (53.3 x 81.9 cm.). Georgia O'Keeffe Museum 2016 Christie’s Images Limited.

SANTA FE, NM.- The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum announced it has acquired a rare 1926 painting by Georgia O’Keeffe titled; The Barns, Lake George. Funds from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s acquisition fund were used to purchase the painting. Exhibited in multiple important exhibitions during O’Keeffe’s lifetime, including her landmark retrospective at MoMA, the painting has been held in private collections since 1946. It has only been shown publicly once in the last 50 years.

The painting portrays the rustic barns that surrounded the Stieglitz Family property overlooking the shores of Lake George, New York. Though O’Keeffe only painted this scene a handful of times, the images of the barns have become an icon of the artist’s time at Lake George. Raised on a farm in Wisconsin, she felt a particular connection to these structures. “The barn is a very healthy part of me—there should be more of it—it is something that I know too—it is my childhood.”

“The Barns, Lake George, 1926 fills a notable gap in our collection and will allow us to significantly enhance our “My New Yorks” gallery. The painting will go on view in the coming months,” said Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Director Robert A. Kret.

The Museum’s “My New Yorks” gallery focuses on the significance of two places in New York State, New York City and Lake George, in O’Keeffe’s artistic and personal development. It will take its place alongside images of the city and the rural retreat made by both O’Keeffe and her husband, Alfred Stieglitz.

Of the subjects O’Keeffe pursued at Lake George in the 1920s—her most prolific decade—the various barns on the Stieglitz property most directly connect her to the interests of various members of the Stieglitz circle and other American modernists to identify distinctly national subjects. Barns conveyed a sense of a rural, regional identity and connected Modernism to an idealized agrarian past. They were also a counterpoint to industrialism and the growth of metropolitan centers. O’Keeffe’s interest in the subject of barns is one she shared with her peers such as Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth – that demonstrates her awareness of the growing interest in regionalism – and her direct participation in a broader conversation about national art. The Barns, Lake George is an outstanding example from the series of less than ten paintings of the barns at Lake George made between 1921 and 1934. O’Keeffe also painted barns found in Canada and Wisconsin.

“This acquisition will strengthen and refine our collection, furthering our goal to represent the full breadth of Georgia O’Keeffe’s artistic accomplishments,” said Cody Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s Director of Curatorial Affairs. “The O’Keeffe Museum is actively building its collection of artworks by Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as photography of and related to the artist.” Other recent acquisitions and gifts include: photography by Myron Wood, Alan Ross, Basil Langton, and a collection of more than 100 photographs by artists including Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Laura Gilpin, Todd Webb, and others. The Museum also collects works by modernist painters, especially those associated with Alfred Stieglitz, to provide context for the work of O’Keeffe.

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