Show Preview | Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: The Hawaii Pictures

Santa Fe, NM
February 7-September 14

Georgia O’Keeffe, White Lotus, 1939, oil on canvas, 20 x 22, Muscatine Art Center, Iowa. Given in Honor of Elizabeth Mabel Holthues Stanley by her family.

Georgia O’Keeffe, White Lotus, 1939, oil on canvas, 20 x 22, Muscatine Art Center, Iowa. Given in Honor of Elizabeth Mabel Holthues Stanley by her family.

This story was featured in the February 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art February 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

The relationship between two of the most eminent and beloved 20th-
century American artists, Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams, was a powerful one that in many ways embodied the spirit of American modernism. They met in 1929 in Taos, NM, and bonded over a shared reverence for nature. Of course, their commonalities didn’t end there, and they soon developed a close friendship that lasted their entire lives. Many parallels have been drawn between the life and work of O’Keeffe and Adams, yet one important connection is still not widely known: Both artists, on different occasions, had profound experiences in Hawaii that greatly influenced their work.

Ansel Adams, Leaves, Foster Gardens, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1957-58, gelatin silver print, 13 x 10, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.

Ansel Adams, Leaves, Foster Gardens, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1957-58, gelatin silver print, 13 x 10, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.

Until recently, the works that O’Keeffe and Adams created in Hawaii received little attention. But a new exhibit titled Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawaii Pictures is bringing these works to light. Organized by curator Theresa Papanikolas, the exhibition debuted at the Honolulu Museum last July. This month, it travels to its only appearance in the lower 48 at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, NM. “There’s nothing related to O’Keeffe that we’re not interested in, so we immediately responded to this,” says curator Carolyn Kastner. An opening reception takes place on Thursday, February 6, at the St. Francis Auditorium, and includes a special lecture by Papanikolas.

The exhibition features more than a dozen paintings by O’Keeffe and more than 30 photographs by Adams. O’Keeffe’s works were created during a trip to Hawaii in 1939. Over the course of her two-month stay she painted the island’s flowers extensively, as well as verdant landscapes and coastal scenes—a departure from the desert landscapes for which she’s so well known. Adams’ photographs of Hawaii, taken about 10 and 20 years after O’Keeffe’s visit, feature everything from landscapes to portraits to urban scenes. “Confronted with this intensely vibrant, colorful environment, he reduced it to black and white in beautiful, mystical ways,” Kastner says.

Both O’Keeffe and Adams desired to venture beyond the stereotypical images of Hawaii in their work—to find a different Hawaii that resonated with them as artists and modernists. As a result, 
Kastner says, “each of them found a very personal path into the amazing, exotic, and tropical environment of Hawaii.” 
—Lindsay Mitchell

contact information
505.946.1000
www.okeeffemuseum.org

Featured in the February 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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