Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) has become one of America’s best-known artists. This book, which accompanies an exhibition of the same name, centers on O’Keeffe’s efforts to ensure proper conservation of the fragile surfaces of her paintings of bones, flowers, and landscapes. Based on previously unpublished correspondence between O’Keeffe and distinguished conservator Caroline Keck, this catalogue from the Mississippi Museum of Art presents entirely new information about the relationship between O’Keeffe’s aesthetic vision and her distinctive handling of paint and pastel.
O’Keeffe’s use of color has long been regarded as a source of the great emotional power that animates her abstract renderings of natural forms. But little was known about her techniques, because she surrounded her studio practices with a wall of secrecy. Her correspondence with Keck reveals that she was surprisingly traditional, sometimes making her own color chips and pastel sticks and even at times grinding her own pigments.
The essays in Georgia O’Keeffe: Color and Conservation consider the artist’s enduring love of the very substance of color. Through close analysis of paintings and pastels with a continuous history of conservation, the essays document O’Keeffe’s and Keck’s painstaking efforts to restore damaged art to its original state. The discussion and accompanying illustrations will give readers an expanded understanding of the subtle beauty and diversity of O’Keeffe’s painting methods.