Lot 2T
  • 2T

ELIZABETH PEYTON | Georgia O'Keeffe (After Stieglitz 1918)

500,000 - 700,000 USD
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  • Elizabeth Peyton
  • Georgia O'Keeffe (After Stieglitz 1918)
  • signed, titled, and dated 2006 on the overlap
  • oil on canvas
  • 30 1/4 by 23 1/4 in. 76.8 by 59.1 cm.


neugerriemschneider, Berlin
Acquired from the above by David Teiger in May 2006


Berlin, neugerriemschneider, Elizabeth Peyton, April - June 2006 
New York, New Museum; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center; London, Whitechapel Gallery; and Maastricht, Bonnefantin Museum, Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton, October 2008 - March 2010, p. 205, illustrated in color, p. 247, illustrated 
Tokyo, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Elizabeth Peyton, January - May 2017, p. 51, illustrated in color


Naoko Aono, "Elizabeth Peyton: Still Life," Terrada Magazine, January 2017, p. 51, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

An enigmatic and compelling portrait of American painter Georgia O’Keeffe, Elizabeth Peyton’s Georgia O’Keeffe (After Stieglitz 1918) from 2006 reveals Peyton’s unmatched ability to craft intimate portraits which convey a psychological complexity that transcends the picture plane and awakens a profound vulnerability in her subjects. The source image for the present work is the renowned photograph of O’Keeffe taken by photographer Alfred Stieglitz in 1918, now in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In Stieglitz’s famous photograph, and Peyton’s adaptation, Georgia O’Keeffe stands confidently in front of one of her own works, a charcoal drawing of Palo Duro Canyon titled No. 15 Special (1916–17), now in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Georgia O’Keeffe (After Stieglitz 1918) engages not only with Peyton’s relationship with her subject, the sitter Georgia O’Keeffe, but also with O’Keeffe’s relationship with her photographer, Alfred Stieglitz, and finally Peyton’s relationship as a portraitist in the 21st century with the medium of photography. An undeniable role model for Elizabeth Peyton, O’Keeffe is a revolutionary female painter of the previous generation who defiantly asserted herself within the genre of landscape painting, one that had for centuries been dominated by men, and resisted sexist stereotypes, embracing an androgynous style and evading narrow conceptions of sexuality. In describing Stieglitz’s capacity to capture the essence of his subjects, O’Keeffe wrote about his photography that his “idea of a portrait was not just one picture.” (Georgia O’Keeffe, in Exh. Cat., New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Georgia O’Keeffe: A Portrait by Alfred Stieglitz, 1978, n.p.) Georgia O’Keeffe (After Stieglitz 1918) is a triumphant affirmation of this statement: itself a portrait of a portrait, the present work reveals through its layered compositional narrative the capacity of portraiture to capture both the physical and psychological likeness of an individual, and Peyton’s unrivaled command over the genre. The present work was acquired the year it was painted by David Teiger, and bears an impressive exhibition history, having been exhibited internationally in the artist’s retrospectives at museums including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitechapel Gallery, London; New Museum, New York; Bonnefantin Museum, Maastricht; and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.In the present work, a fair-skinned and youthful O’Keeffe stands confidently with her shoulders drawn back and chin held high, her blank gaze fixated on an unknown point beyond the viewer. Attentive to the features in O’Keeffe that Stieglitz highlights in his photograph, Peyton fantastically marries her artistic vision with Stieglitz’s own distinct lens, the boldness of her lips, cheekbones, and darkly rimmed eyes declaring her detachment from reality. Peyton sharpens the contours of O’Keeffe’s eyes, nose, and jawline and accentuates her neck and breastplate, achieving a sharpness of physcographic features that evokes the chiaroscuro Stieglitz masterfully achieves in his black and white photography. Peyton emphasizes the angularity of O’Keeffe’s features through contrasting colors, as watery, fleshy hues abut inky black lines. Painting in a limited palette of cool blues, soft browns, and creamy whites, Peyton uses broad brushstrokes and diluted paints that expressively capture and dutifully record the visceral, textured quality of paint and paintbrush traveling across canvas. Watering down her paints to achieve nuanced tonal variations in her composition within a limited palette, Peyton simplifies and abstracts form while still capturing the remarkable likeness of her sitter. O’Keeffe’s No. 15 Special hangs behind O’Keeffe and frames her face with a halo of light. Peyton here references an art historical tradition in which a portrait painting suggests a sitter’s profession or interests through inclusion of thematic objects or possessions surrounding the subject.

Throughout her revolutionary artistic career, Peyton has painted friends, lovers, prominent celebrities, and historical figures alike, all with piercing attention and virtuosic draftsmanship. As with the present work, Peyton often looks to published photographs or the media for her source images; in referencing existing images, Peyton conveys her ongoing fascination with the capacity of an image to hold in tension various layers of representation, each fraught with their own inaccuracies and sources of bias, and reflects her desire to investigate the power of representation itself. While Peyton deliberately paints individuals in specific historical moments, she simultaneously abstracts her compositions and disengages her sitters from their social, political, cultural contexts; at the psychological crux of her art is juxtaposition between anonymity and recognition, individuality and uniformity.

O’Keeffe first met Stieglitz, who was 24 years her senior, in 1916 when she visited Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery, and the two began a deeply intimate and close relationship, eventually marrying in 1924. Stieglitz and O’Keeffe inspired and elevated each other: O’Keeffe immediately became Stieglitz’s most beloved muse, reinvigorating his passion for photography, and in turn Stieglitz, who was a critical voice in the art world at the time, helped tremendously to elevate O’Keeffe’s nascent artistic career, helping her gain recognition as an American landscape painter and including her in shows at his gallery, 291 Gallery. The narrative of the present portrait is further complicated by Peyton’s own fraught art historical relationship with Alfred Stieglitz; with the advent of photography and mass-dissemination of the camera in the 20th century, the veracity of portraiture was called into question as, for the first time in art history, portraiture was relinquished from its obligation to anatomical accuracy and record keeping. Elizabeth Peyton’s revolutionary oeuvre asserts through a distinctly feminine voice the enduring relevance of portrait painting in the grand narrative of art history, and the prevailing relevance of the genre of portraiture in the 21st century despite the ubiquity of images and advent of photographic technology in our present culture.