Masterworks to display O’Keeffe drawings
Graphite drawings created by renowned artist Georgia O'Keeffe are to go on display at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.
Banyan Tree with Palms, which the artist drew in 1934 during her second visit to the island, will be featured next year to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Masterworks becoming a purpose-built museum.
The work will sit alongside O'Keeffe's Banyan Tree Trunk, which the museum acquired in 1990.
The museum is raising funds to buy the second piece to add to the collection and continue the legacy of collecting work by artists who were inspired by Bermuda.
Tom Butterfield, founder and creative director at Masterworks, said: “We are delighted with the response from our members so far in helping us acquire another landmark piece of Bermudiana.
“It is a graphite drawing done by Georgia O'Keeffe in 1934 and, as she only did 14 pieces during two visits to the island, it is significant that we might be able to add a second to our collection.
“It will add more weight to the legacy that has been created by this Bermuda collection — there's nothing comparable in the world.” According to a press release from Masterworks, Georgia O'Keeffe is the most famous female American artist of the 20th century. Although best known for her paintings of large flowers, she travelled to Bermuda in 1933 after a diagnosis of psychoneurosis and found solace and inspiration during her time on the island.
In a letter to a friend at the time she said of Bermuda: “It is warm and slow and the sea such a lovely clear greenish blue … I have done little but sit … however, the sitting is good.”
This transitional period of her work was in pencil on paper and included sketches of banana blossoms, leaves and banyan trees. When she left the island, she created a series of famous colourful paintings depicting the South West of the United States.
Mr Butterfield said: “Her Bermuda work was hugely influential on her being able to get her spirit back together, head west and break into great, big, bold colour.
“Bermuda had that influence on her and this should never be lost.”
In 1994, Masterworks opened the O'Keeffe exhibition at the National Gallery, which featured all but two of the works from her time in Bermuda. The last time it had all been shown together was in 1935 at Alfred Stieglitz's gallery the American Place in New York.
Stieglitz, who was married to O'Keeffe, was influential in helping her break through the male barriers in the art world at the time by offering her space at his galleries.
Mr Butterfield said: “It is a legacy that is as significant as one could possibly have for the next couple of generations. It's a glorious opportunity and the fact is that it is an original done by the hands of an iconic female artist. It is just fortunate for us that she visited Bermuda.”
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