10 Amazing Quotes by Georgia O’Keeffe on Her Birthday

The artist's influence cannot be overstated.

Henri Neuendorf, November 15, 2016

Alfred Stieglitz, Portrait of Georgia O'Keeffe (1918). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Alfred Stieglitz, Portrait of Georgia O'Keeffe (1918). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One of the most significant and revolutionary artists, the painter Georgia O’Keeffe rose to prominence for her stylized renditions of New York cityscapes, New Mexico landscapes, and imposing paintings of flowers in bloom. O’Keeffe was one of the first female artists to achieve worldwide critical acclaim for her constantly evolving modernist style. While she experimented with abstract painting, she is remembered primarily for her magnified depictions of plant life and the outdoors, a theme that preoccupied her for the entirety of her career.

The painter’s influence on subsequent generations of unapologetic artists cannot be overstated. Not just in terms of her creative influence, but also for her trailblazing status as one of the first global female art stars. She remains the most expensive female artist at auction; two years ago, her painting Jimson Weed/White Flower no.1 selling for $44.4 million at Christie’s New York.

In honor of Georgia O’Keeffe’s birthday and her enduring legacy, we’ve compiled 10 amazing quotes from the great American modernist.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Jimson Weed, White Flower No. 1 (1932).Photo: Courtesy of Tate Britain.

Georgia O’Keeffe Jimson Weed, White Flower No. 1 (1932). Courtesy of Tate Britain.

On being an artist

“I had it in my head, well, I couldn’t have been 12…that I was going to be a painter.”

On being a woman

“I feel there is something unexplored about women that only a woman can explore.”

On doing what you want

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life—and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”

On being courageous

“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” On success “You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.”

On being yourself

“I know now that most people are so closely concerned with themselves that they are not aware of their own individuality, I can see myself, and it has helped me to say what I want to say in paint.”

On developing her style

“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.”

On landscapes

“It was all so far away—there was quiet and an untouched feel to the country and I could work as I pleased.”

On making statements

“I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could.”

On flowers

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”

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