Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Photographer Friends is a success

Musee de Grenoble's FRAME exhibit draws praise.

Musee de Grenoble's retrospective Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Photographer Friends finishes strong

Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Photographer Friends was curated by Guy Tosatto, director and curator in chief of the Museum of Grenoble, and Sophie Bernard, curator in charge of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Grenoble.   Blandine Chavanne, formerly the director of the Nantes Museum of Fine Art, and Claire Lebossé, curator of modern art in Nantes, also cooperated on the exhibition.

From November 7, 2015 to February 7, 2016, 42,321 visitors to the Museum of Grenoble enjoyed the very first French exhibition devoted to Georgia O'Keeffe, which was the 21st FRAME exhibition.

Fascade of the Museum of Grenoble and exhibit banner. ©Emilie Vanhaesebroucke

The event explored the unique work of a female artist who was able to assert herself in the American art scene and give a significant impetus to modern art in her country. Noticed early by the photographer and New York gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz in 1916, Georgia O'Keeffe developed a unique art style not influenced by European modern art. From her first creations to her move to New Mexico in 1949 where she found her America, as she said, Georgia O'Keeffe developed, through the prism of photography of the time, paintings constantly going from figuration to abstraction. Her sharp eye and her remarkable sense of composition, put in perspective with her knowledge of photography, was at the heart of the exhibition in Grenoble. Several photographs by Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, and Todd Webb, who forged her vision and understanding of painting, were also exhibited in the show.

The exhibition was organized into nine thematic sections spanning the career of this giant of American modernism: Abstraction, Biomorphism and Art Nouveau,
Lake George, Flower Paintings: "The Lady of the Lily", Cityscapes and Skyscrapers: New York seen by O'Keeffe, New Mexico: Visions of the Desert, Canyons and Desert, Trees, Bones of the Desert and Skies.

Exhibit of Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Photographer Friends ©Emilie Vanhaesebroucke

FRAME would like to thank the 15 major American museums plus the German, Spanish and French museums which contributed 90 masterpieces to the exhibition.  The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, that contributes very actively to promote this major figure of American art, lent ten important works to the show. American FRAME museums also lent generously some pearls of their collections: It Was Yellow and Pink II (1959, Cleveland Museum of Art), Shell and Old Shingle VI (1926, Saint Louis Art Museum), Grey Blue and Black - Pink Circle (1929) and Bare Trees Trunks with Snow (1946, both from the Dallas Museum of Art), White Iris (1930, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond) and Petunias (1925, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco). Very rarely loaned, these paintings reinforced the quite exceptional nature of the exhibition. The participation of non-FRAME museums was outstanding; The Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City loaned works from their collections.  Lastly, the Red Amaryllis from the Terra Foundation for American Art traveled from Chicago to Grenoble on this occasion. From Pais, the Musée national d'Art moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou lent the only O'Keeffe belonging to a French public collection: Red, Yellow and Black Streak (1924).

Grey Blue & Black – Pink Circle, 1929, oil on canvas, 91,4 x 121,9 cm, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / ADAGP, Paris 2015

The exhibition received rave reviews from the French press.  Several different publications gave the exhibit positive reviews.  Several French publications covered the exhibit: Le MondeLe Quotidein de l'Art, FranceCulture, and Toutelaculture.  The Huffington Post also covered it.

FRAME and the Museum of Grenoble are most grateful to all the lenders and supporters who made this exhibition possible. FRAME expresses its gratitude to its Philanthropic Trustees who assisted with this exhibition as well: Connie Goodyear Baron, Elisabeth and Robert Wilmers and Hélène David-Weill. 

FRAME continued its mission of encouraging cultural exchanges between France and North America by supporting this retrospective about this iconic artist whose works are mostly preserved in the United States.  Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Photographer Friends offered an exceptional opportunity for the French public to learn more about the richness and various forms of expression found in American art.