Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe

American, 1887–1986
Dark Iris No. 2
1927, oil on canvas, 81.3 x 53.3 cm (32 x 21 in.)

In warm weather, O’Keeffe left New York City for the more peaceful surroundings of Lake George in upstate New York, where she stayed with Alfred Stieglitz at his family’s summer home. The natural environs of the retreat provided both artists with rich subject matter. In Dark Iris No. 2, O’Keeffe plunges deep into the center of a black iris, presenting such an unusual and narrow focus that the painting verges on abstraction. The flower also may be seen as embodying sexual imagery, clouds, or even (turned on its side) the Lake George mountains and water. O’Keeffe alluded to the transformational power of art, “when you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else.”