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georgia-o'keeffe-portrait-by-june-sees-illustration_Georgia O, my Friends! How I missed you.

I’d thought I switch it up, and show you my video of Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at Tate Modern. The film is a chance to show you the flavours of this show, and how it inspires me as an Illustrator.

Firstly, I’ll tell you how I stumbled about Georgia O’Keeffe. We rarely studied female artists at High school. Frida Kahlo was on the surrealist curriculum, but Georgia O’Keeffe was part of my credits for my arts exam to graduate. Yes, I was fascinated by her flower and skull paintings, I saw them as first and foremost as beautiful natural forms. Bear in mind, doing homework during the age of dial-ups internet connection was painful…

Georgia O’Keeffe 1887-1986 Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 1932 Oil paint on canvas 48 x 40 inches Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas, USA © 2016 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/DACS, London  Photography by Edward C. Robison III

Georgia O’Keeffe 1887-1986 Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 1932 Oil paint on canvas 48 x 40 inches Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas, USA © 2016 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/DACS, London Photography by Edward C. Robison III

Did you study Georgia O’Keeffe at High School?

My husband’s sniggers when he sees a flower painting of Georgia O’Keeffe – I look at him eyes piercing sideways and sigh heavily. He can’t help it, nor can anyone for the matter. I think that’s the problematic and notoriety of O’Keeffe’s work. Put down upon as vulgar or subversive sexual tones, or an icon of female sexuality, this is what she is famous for. Is she purely defined by her flower paintings only? No.


It’s been over 20 years since an exhibition of Georgia O’Keeffe in the UK. Never before has any galleries in the UK has an O’Keeffe artwork acquired for public viewing, so this exhibition I can safely tell you is incredibly rare.With over 100 major works, ranging from charcoal, photography and drawings, this exhibition is beautifully and respectfully curated. I wasn’t aware she did charcoal drawings nor cityscapes.

Marking the centenary of O’Keeffe’s artist debut at the ‘291’ Gallery in New York in 1916; the exhibition welcomes you to that art scene. The exhibition at ‘291’ Gallery was curated by avant-garde photographer Alfred Stieglitz – whom she later married.
Sold at Sotheby’s auction for £28 million became the record for the most expensive painting by a female artist ever sold.Recognised as a founding icon of American Modernism, O’Keeffe quietly breaks boundaries and claimed as a pioneer by female artists of the 1970s.

There’s lots of profound themes and concepts in her work: nature, manmade, death, life, mortality, birth.Her influences with Kandinsky shows in the ethereal reverie and chroma quality to her work. She was a keen intellect and her relationship with Alfred Stieglitz considers to the key to her development in avant-garde art. It was a fruitful relationship and you can tell from the selection of photographs shot by Stieglitz. Photos modelled by O’Keeffe, you can see each artists’ influences on one another;the macro shots of fruit, hands, and landscapes.

This was a relationship of equal beauty and intellect, yet fraught with conflict at times.The last rooms of the exhibition show O’Keeffe’s profound inspiration for the landscapes of New Mexico. You can sense as her eyesight’s deteriorated, the eerily motif of death and mortality in her abstract work.

Top Tip: I highly recommend getting the Audio guide for this exhibition for the freedom to move around each room. There is plenty of useful information and commentary that is not on the wall captions.

I wished I had the opportunity to take the audioguide to be frankly honest, it would have added impact to my experience. The wall captions are scarce, which I believe is incredibly refreshing to have the freedom to move at your own pace.
This is well-thought, cohesive exhibition and the clever curatorial decision to remove the cliché of O’Keeffe’s work. If you’re expecting lots of floral painting depicting ‘genitalia’ you’ll be disappointed. In conclusion, you should be.

“Men put me down as the best woman painter…
…I think I’m one of the best painters.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

Who is this Exhibition for? Especially those who: 
- Enjoy Modernist paintings 
- Wishes to learn about Georgia O'Keeffe 
- Studying American Modernism
- Likes Modern art

 What are your thoughts about Georgia O’Keeffe? Tweet me your comments, I love to hear them

Georgia O'Keeffe I thought was to be... Share on X

Ticket Information

Opens 6 July – 30 October 2016

Tate Modern opens daily 10.00 – 18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday

Admissions: (concessions available). Members go free.

Adult £19 (without donation £17.20) Concession £17 (without donation £15.40) Under 12s FREE (up to four per family adult)

For further ticket information, please visit

A photo posted by June Sees ~ Illustration (@junesees) on

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