By Ann Binlot
In 1927, a painting of a striking black pansy beneath bunches of pale blue forget-me-nots by Georgia O’Keeffe hung in her first museum exhibition, which featured 15 of her paintings at the Brooklyn Museum. Ninety years later, the painting has come full circle, as one of the works in Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, on view at the Brooklyn Museum through July 23. The show displays some 220 objects, including 36 paintings, 98 photographs, and 42 items from her closet.
The pieces on display show a relationship between O’Keeffe’s wardrobe—many of the garments were designed and sewn by the artist herself—and her art. The same winding lines that appeared on a painting of two shells show up on a bow accent on the collar of a delicate shirt made by O’Keeffe in the early ‘30s. The chevrons of a Pucci dress owned by O’Keeffe are also seen in Polaroids by the artist taken of Glen Canyon in 1964.
Her glorious kimonos, chambray work shirts, and dainty dresses are among the pieces of her minimal wardrobe on display. Her style would go on to be admired by designers like Issey Miyake and Calvin Klein, who collects her work and hired Bruce Weber to shoot a campaign featuring her New Mexico home. In recent years, designers like Michael Kors, Gareth Pugh, and Prabal Gurung have referenced her work in their collections.
Blue jeans—the costume of this country—I rather think they are our only national costumes.
O’Keeffe had a strong conviction about how she wanted to look. She was born, it seems, to favor a plain and unornamented style no matter what the dress codes of the day.
After the Brooklyn Museum, Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern will travel to the Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (August 18 through November 19, 2017) and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts (December 16, 2017 through April 1, 2018).
Explore another chapter in The Stories:
Free Spirit: The Modern Vision of Charlotte Perriand