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Art Gallery of Ontario opens major retrospective of American painter Georgia O'Keeffe
Still life formed an important theme within O’Keeffe’s work, most notably in her representations and abstractions of flowers.

TORONTO.- The Art Gallery of Ontario is presenting 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 examines 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 is making its only North American stop in Toronto, running from April 22 to July 30, 2017.

Opening with the moment of her first showings at the 291 gallery in New York in 1916 and 1917, the exhibition features 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 considers 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 is being 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 explores 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.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue from Tate Publishing, offering new scholarship on O’Keeffe and her work. It includes contributions from the curators in addition to renowned visual theorist and cultural analyst Griselda Pollock.

"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."

Georgia O’Keeffe is organized by Tate Modern in collaboration with Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. It is curated by Tanya Barson, Curator, Tate Modern with Hannah Johnston, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. The Toronto installation of Georgia O’Keeffe will be led by the AGO’s Georgiana Uhlyarik, Associate Curator, Canadian Art.

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April 23, 2017

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