Friday, December 30, 2011

Arty Farty Friday ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

I recently received a comment on an old (2006) post of mine on the artist Georgia O'Keeffe. That post was more than a tad ragged, but in those days I was new to blogging and to Blogger. I believe I can do a little better now; so - an improved offering:

Georgia O'Keeffe born 15 November 1887, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin - time unknown. If I had been unable to find Georgia O'Keeffe's birth data, I could have made a guess from her choice of subject matter, and I'd have been correct. The lady, whether she knew it or not, was a Scorpio-type through and through.
(Photo by Alfred Stieglitz)

Her subjects were often enlarged views of the skulls and other bones of animals, flowers and plant organs, shells, rocks, mountains, and other natural forms. Her mysteriously suggestive images of bones and flowers set against a perspectiveless space have inspired a variety of erotic, psychological, and symbolic interpretations. Her later works celebrate the clear skies and desert landscapes of New Mexico, where she moved after her husband's death in 1946. She is regarded by critics as one of the most original and important American artists, and her works are highly popular among the general public. ~~ Britannica

Some of her best known work includes her flower and plant forms such as a 1925 painting. 'Black Iris' - (see right) an elegant work construed by many as being sexually suggestive, though this was denied by the artist. ~~"

Georgia O'Keeffe's natal chart shows 3, and possibly 4, planets clustered in Scorpio: Jupiter 17*, Sun 23*, Mercury 27* with Moon at 28* at noon, and definitely in Scorpio if born before 2:00PM, otherwise Moon would have been in early Sagittarius.

Venus, planet of the arts is at home in Libra, one of its signs of rulership, along with with Uranus (the eccentric and revolutionary planet). O'Keefe's style must have seemed somewhat eccentric when first encountered - different from almost everything else on the early 20th century scene. As Wikipedia states: "She revolutionized the tradition of flower painting".

Whether some of her representations were intended to be overtly erotic or simply sensual has to be in the eye of the beholder, I guess. But how could an intense Scorpio-ness not shine through her work? She denied any intention of eroticism, and yet the idea has secured itself in the public imagination. Those studying her paintings may, involuntarily, have been sensing her astrology seeping through!

Here is another of that ultra-talented Pluto in Gemini generation. Neptune (creativity), in O'Keeffe's chart is close to Pluto, though in the last degrees of Taurus (another arty sign ruled by Venus).

Georgia O'Keeffe's family background was a blend of Irish (her father) and Hungarian (her mother). After a childhood spent in Wisconsin her early career was as a commercial artist in Chicago. She went on to teach art in Texas. She later lived with, and eventually married, renonwned photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who had noted her talent and organised her first exhibition. Without his help it's doubtful that her career would have taken off as it did. Opportunities, in those days, for a female in the art world were few, even for a woman as talented and determined as Georgia O'Keeffe.

She was said to have a "prickly personality" (more reflection of Scorpio?). Portraits by several diferent photographers present her as a "loner, a severe figure and self-made person." She spent much of her life in her beloved northern New Mexico, died in 1986 aged 98. Her ashes were scattered from the top of a mountain she had looked out on from her home. She had received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Gerald Ford in 1977 and the National Medal of Arts from Ronald Reagan in 1985.

One sample each of her several styles/subjects:

The skulls ~~~

Summer Days

The abstracts ~~~

Blue and Green Music

The flower studies ~~~

Red Canna

The New Mexico Landscape (my own favourite, for I love New Mexico too).

Black Mesa

For hundreds more examples of O'Keeffe paintings a good place to start is at Google Image, then simply follow the trails.


Anonymous said...

GP: There is no doubt something "erotic/scorpionic/sensual" transpiring in most of Georgia's paintings - even in her face. Is it art of nature, of the planets (also nature, you bet!) or just enchanting to contemplate?

Excellent pick, T.

And have a "good glide" into the New Year; wishing you and all those close to you the very best.

Wisewebwoman said...

I've always loved the sensuality of her art and of course she denied it for in those days it would have been a form of suicide to admit a sexuality to her work.
Reminds me a lot of Frida K with its courage in depicting feminity.

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~~ Well, yes, all her paintings are enchanting, in one way or another (New Mexico is called "Land of Enchantment", and there she found her true home.

Every good wish for 2012 (and onward) coming back to you and yours, GP, including to Cognac and, erm I forget: Lily? (the bulldog?).

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ I guess that was the reason, WWW. Though the photographs Alfred Stieglitz took of her - nude studies - were pretty darm sexual - but maybe by then she didn't care any more. :-)

I do much prefer O'Keeffe's work to Kahlo's, who I find mightily depressing, and self-absorbed...but then, that was her prerogative, brushes in hand.

Anonymous said...

I saw on another site that O'Keefe had her moon (and other planets as well) in scorpio in the 12th house. This could also help explain why she denied the sexual aspect of her work, she was actually unaware of it on some level, or at least didn't want it to be seen.

Tracy Marks book "Your Secret Self" also mentions the myth of Demeter as relevant to the moon in the 12th. I remember reading in O'Keefe's bio that she used to work in isolation for half the year in the desert in NM, then go to NY to Stieglitz to sell her work. You can't get more Persephone like than that!

I also have scorpio moon in the 12th and have found this way of working as an artist to be both appealing and useful.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ Thanks for your observations. I wonder where that site obtained the info. about her time of birth. It does fit well, astrologically. Sometimes a method called rectification is used by astrologers to arrive at d.o.b.
I never trust this as being 100% reliable. Still, in this case it fits, and I think her Moon would have been in Scorpio - whichever house. Houses, too are a tad unreliable, I've found, and can depend on which house system is being used.

All food for thought though. :-)