Georgia O'Keeffe, Photographer Lisa Volpe, Ariel Plotek

Publication date:
26 Oct 2021
Yale University Press
288 pages: 273 x 254mm
588 color illus.
Sales territories:


A groundbreaking introduction to the photographic work of an iconic modern artist

The pathbreaking artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) is revered for her iconic paintings of flowers, skyscrapers, animal skulls, and Southwestern landscapes. Her photographic work, however, has not been explored in depth until now. After the death of her husband, the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, in 1946, photography indeed became an important part of O’Keeffe’s artistic production. She trained alongside the photographer Todd Webb, revisiting subjects that she had painted years before—landforms of the Southwest, the black door in her courtyard, the road outside her window, and flowers. O’Keeffe’s carefully composed photographs are not studies of detail or decisive moments; rather, they focus on the arrangement of forms. 
This is the first major investigation of O’Keeffe’s photography and traces the artist’s thirty-year exploration of the medium, including a complete catalogue of her photographic work. Essays by leading scholars address O’Keeffe’s photographic approach and style and situate photography within the artist’s overall practice. This richly illustrated volume significantly broadens our understanding of one of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century. 

Lisa Volpe is associate curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Ariel Plotek is curator of fine art at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
(October 17, 2021–January 23, 2022)
Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA
(February 26–June 12, 2022)
Denver Art Museum
(July 3–November 6, 2022)
Cincinnati Art Museum
(February 3–May 7, 2023)

“Lisa Volpe’s careful scholarship offers a new perspective on the work of Georgia O’Keeffe. As viewers, we are invited to see the intimacy of her surroundings through the act of taking pictures.”—Catherine Opie

“A necessary, and beautiful, contribution to the mountain of scholarship on Georgia O’Keeffe. For the first time, we can talk about O’Keeffe as a photographer and within the long line of modern artists who used photography as a critical tool in constructing their paintings.”—Bruce Robertson, University of California, Santa Barbara

“O’Keeffe had no desire to be an art photographer, this welcome study reveals, but she deeply exploited the camera’s potential to focus and frame motifs in memorable compositions. In ways unknown until now, she used her Leica and Polaroid as power tools to exercise her eye and practice her formal aesthetics.”—Wanda M. Corn, author of Georgia O’Keeffe, Living Modern