Georgia O’Keeffe painting sells for $44m at Sotheby’s, sets auction record for female artist

American artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s classic flower painting ‘Jimson Weed, White Flower No. 1” fetched more than three times the auction estimate of $15 million when it sold for $44.4 million at Sotheby’s in New York. The 1932 painting has set a new world auction record for any artwork by a female artist by surpassing the previous record of $11.9m for an untitled work by Joan Mitchell.

Georgia O’Keeffe, who died in 1986 at the age of 98, was known for her paintings of nature and the southwestern landscape. In the present work, O’Keeffe presents the Jimson weed as subject matter. The artwork transforms the poisonous into the sublime, presenting her perception of its essence rather than its literal form. She depicts the flower with subtly modulated tones of pure white, yellow and green to evoke the play of light and shadow on its delicate surface. Eschewing the details of the subject, O’Keeffe renders the blossom and leaves as elegantly simplified, circular forms—a motif essential to her aesthetic.

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The painting had belonged to the artist’s sister, Anita O’Keeffe Young until 1966. For six years it was hung in the private dining room in the White House during the George W. Bush administration. It has appeared at Sotheby’s auction twice- first in 1987 when it was sold for $990,000 and in December 1994, for $1 million.

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[Via – BBC]