Lot 11
  • 11

Georgia O'Keeffe 1887 - 1986

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
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  • Georgia O'Keeffe
  • Pink and Green (Pink Pastelle)
  • Signed with the artist's initials OK within her star device and inscribed Pink Pastelle on the stretcher
  • Pastel on linen
  • 16 by 14 in.
  • 40.6 by 35.5 cm
  • Executed in 1922. Please note that in the print catalogue for this sale, this lot appears as number 11T.


Doris Bry, New York
Mark Lutz, Philadelphia, 1950
John Lutz, Philadelphia (bequest from the above)
William Jepson, Pennsylvania (gift)
Private Collection, Rosemont, New York, 1983 (gift and sold: Sotheby's New York, December 8, 1983 [as Pink Pastelle])
Acquired at the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman


New York, The Anderson Galleries, Alfred Stieglitz Presents One Hundred Pictures: Oils, Water-colors, Pastels, Drawings, By Georgia O’Keeffe, American, January-February 1923
Brooklyn Museum, Paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, June-September 1927, no. 8
West Palm Beach, Norton Museum of Art; Santa Fe, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Georgia O'Keeffe:  Circling Around Abstraction, February-January 2008, p. 132, illustrated in color pl. 18, p. 81
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction, September 2009-January 2010, p. 229, illustrated in color pl. 67, p. 78


Barbara Buhler Lynes, Georgia O'Keeffe: Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven, 1999, vol. I, no. 366, p. 197, illustrated in color


Please contact the American Art Department at (212) 606-7280 for the condition report for this lot.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Georgia O’Keeffe executed Pink and Green in 1922, the year prior to the landmark exhibition of 100 of her works at the Anderson Galleries in New York, in which it was included. Although she was undoubtedly influenced by her instructors such as William Merritt Chase and Arthur Wesley Dow, as early as 1915 O’Keeffe transformed her work by committing herself to drawing only the “things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me—shapes and ideas so near to me—so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down” (Charles C. Eldredge, Georgia O’Keeffe: American and Modern, New Haven, 1993, p. 161). O’Keeffe consistently gleaned her primary inspiration from the forms of the natural world, yet in works like Pink and Green she appears to approach pure abstraction, revealing the true inventiveness and originality with which she approached her art from the earliest years of her career.

The composition of Pink and Green is dominated by the swirling arabesques that can be found throughout O'Keeffe's body of work, a motif that often suggests the artist’s belief in the dynamism and vitality inherent in the natural world: “The world just seems to be on wheels,” she once explained, “going so fast I cant [sic] see the spokes—and I like it” (Jonathan Stulman, Georgia O’Keeffe: Circling Around Abstraction, West Palm Beach, Florida, 2007, p. 21). By omitting explicitly representational imagery, O’Keeffe presents Pink and Green more as a meditation on the relationship between color, line and form, and the ability of these formal qualities to communicate deeper emotions and subjective meanings. The imagery of Pink and Green, as well as O’Keeffe’s intent, also finds parallels with the photographs of clouds Stieglitz began in the early 1920s and would continue to explore into the following decade through a series he called Equivalents.

O’Keeffe used pastel to render Pink and Green. Following her earlier experimentation with charcoal and watercolor, O’Keeffe began to use pastel with regularity when she returned to New York after living in rural Texas from 1916 to 1917, and she continued to explore the medium until the 1950s. When working with pastel, O’Keeffe sacrificed the mutability and transparency of watercolor—which had previously preoccupied her in Texas—in favor of the velvety surface and a more controlled execution afforded by pastel. The medium thus allowed O’Keeffe to replace the freer forms of her watercolors with tighter compositions that still exhibit the same daring juxtaposition of color and precise delineation of shapes and contours as seen in the works in oil she was painting concurrently.

Today, O’Keeffe’s pastels are among the most celebrated examples of her work. “Pastel afforded O’Keeffe a medium for her most unabashedly beautiful works of art,” explains Judith C. Walsh. “Exploiting pastel’s broad range in hue and value, she was able to combine the graceful tonal imagery she had developed in charcoal with the intense abstract color she had explored in watercolor. Unexpectedly, she also found that pastel could project a captivating surface texture” (O’Keeffe on Paper, Washington, D.C., 2000, p. 68).