Explore O’Keeffe’s unique approach to abstraction through 17 works from the 1910s to the 1930s. At the heart of the installation is Music, Pink and Blue, No. 1, a recent addition to SAM’s collection and a gift of late Trustee Barney A. Ebsworth. The first complete expression of O’Keeffe’s personal brand of modernism, Abstract Variations brings Music, Pink and Blue, No. 1 together with Music, Pink and Blue, No. 2, from the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, for the first time in Seattle, along with loans from museums across the country.
Music, Pink and Blue, No. 1 is O’Keeffe’s first major oil painting. She painted it after moving to New York City in 1918, departing from the more intimate media of charcoal and watercolor to take up the more public and ambitious medium of oil. Examples of her earlier drawings in the exhibition illustrate this transition, while subsequent paintings demonstrate what came later in O’Keeffe’s work. Also on view are photographs of the artist by Alfred Stieglitz.
Music, Pink and Blue, No. 1 and No. 2 are important works in O’Keeffe’s long and storied career as examples of pure abstraction. Their shared title and palette draw an immediate connection between musical cadences and painterly hues. By equating her paintings with music O’Keeffe cast herself as a composer, creating beauty not through the principles of representation, but in a language of pure abstraction.
Image: Music, Pink and Blue, No. 2., 1918, Georgia O'Keeffe, American, 1887–1986, oil on canvas, 35 x 29 15/16 in., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Gift of Emily Fisher Landau in honor of Tom Armstrong. Inv. N.: 91.90, Digital image © Whitney Museum of American Art / Licensed by Scala / Art Resource, NY.