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Gray, Blue and Black – Pink Circle (1929), one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings exhibited at the Center Pompidou.

The often exuberant work, bordering on abstraction, of this major artist too little known in France finally crosses the Atlantic. What a treat!

Its plants in saturated colors reveal a close-up of an intimate world whose smoothness irresistibly attracts. Flowers, really? Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) always mischievously avoided questions about the erotic connotations of her flower arrangements. In the Puritan America of the 1920s-1930s, these caused a scandal but were snapped up, especially as her reputation was already sulphurous – she posed nude for her lover and future husband, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1942), father of modern American photography and avant-garde gallery owner. These black and white prints, as well as the works of Picasso, Rodin or Brancusi exhibited by Stieglitz in the 921 gallery in Manhattan, open the route of the retrospective that the Center Pompidou is dedicating to Georgia O’Keeffe. Almost unknown in France, she is considered in the United States as one of the main figures in the history of modern American art, like Edward Hopper, her contemporary, who will remain attached to the figuration while she constantly plays with it. A hundred paintings show the itinerary of this Wisconsin farmer’s daughter, trained in Chicago, the cradle of floral art nouveau, then in New York, influenced by Kandinsky, Rodin and German romanticism. She will move to Manhattan with Stieglitz after a few years of teaching in Texas. In 1946, widowed, she settled permanently in New Mexico.

To readCatalogue, ed. CP, 272 p., € 42 Georgia O’Keeffe, an American icon, by Marie Garraut, ed. Hazan, 191 p., € 25.

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