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How Lake George Influenced Famous Artist Georgia O’Keeffe

I remember learning about famous artist Georgia O’Keeffe in my 7th grade art class. I was not informed, however, until just recently that Lake George actually played a large influencing role in the art and life of Georgia O’Keeffe.

Pictured here is my 7th grade interpretation of O’Keeffe’s work… not too shabby for a 12 year old, eh?

While she may be well known for her stunning botanical close-ups and impressive fruit still lifes, O’Keeffe is not as well known when it comes to her connection to Lake George both in her personal life and her artistry. Now a local exhibition will bring that to light.

Recently The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls announced a groundbreaking summer exhibition entitled Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George. The exhibition, which opens on June 15, 2013, is the first to explore the formative influence of Lake George on the art and life of Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986).

From 1918 until 1934, O’Keeffe spent part of each year living at Alfred Stieglitz’s family estate on Lake George. The 36-acre property was situated just north of Lake George Village along the western shoreline.

This Lake George estate served as a rural retreat for O’Keeffe, providing the basic materials for her art, while evoking the spirit of place that was essential to O’Keeffe’s modern approach to the natural world.

During this highly productive period, she created more than 200 paintings on canvas and paper in addition to sketches and pastels, making her Lake George years among the most prolific and transformative of her seven-decade career. This period also coincided with O’Keeffe’s first critical success and emergence as a professional artist.

“O’Keeffe’s Lake George paintings have been included in numerous exhibitions, but the exhibition Modern Nature offers an unprecedented opportunity to intimately connect the works to the environment that conditions that inspiration,” explained Erin B. Coe, Hyde chief curator.

Through a selection of approximately fifty-eight O’Keeffe paintings on loan from public and private collections, this unique exhibition will explore the full range of work produced by O’Keeffe, including:

Major museums across the country are lending works by O’Keeffe to the exhibition, including the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Denver Art Museum, High Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Philips Collection, Walker Art Center, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

“The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is thrilled to see this groundbreaking effort to exhibit some familiar and several rarely seen works of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Lake George paintings,” said Robert A. Kret, director of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. “The exhibition demonstrates how this was indeed a positive and transformative period in the artist’s life and work.”

Modern Nature will premiere June 15 – September 15, 2013 at The Hyde Collection and travel this fall and winter to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, and then on to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum next spring.

A fully illustrated, 200-page book from the international art publisher Thames & Hudson, also entitled Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George, will accompany the exhibition. The lead essay is written by organizing curator Erin B. Coe, with additional essays by Bruce Robertson, professor, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Gwendolyn Owens, Consultant Curator of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal.

If you’re interested in seeing the specific works of Georgia O’Keeffe that were influenced right here in our own back yard, don’t miss Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls this summer as well as its accompanying catalogue.

For more information on the exhibition, please contact Alice Grether, Director of Marketing, Communication and Visitor Services at The Hyde, at 518-792-1761, ext. 328.