1887 - 1986
inscribed G.OK and numbered 1/10 (beneath the base)
height: 10 inches (25.4 cm)
Modeled in 1916; cast in 1979-80.
The surface is slightly dirty and there appear to be a few scattered scuffs and scratches.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
By descent to the present owner
Barbara Buhler Lynes, O'Keeffe, Stieglitz and the Critics, 1916-1929, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1989, frontispiece illustration of another example
Sarah Whitaker Peters, Becoming O'Keeffe: The Early Years, New York, 1991, pp. 153-155, illustrations of another example
Charles C. Eldredge, Georgia O'Keeffe: American and Modern, New Haven, Connecticut, 1993, p. 22, illustration of another example
Barbara Buhler Lynes, Georgia O'Keeffe: Catalogue Raisonné, vol. I, New Haven, Connecticut, 1999, no. 67, p. 63, illustration of another example
Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Georgia O'Keeffe: The Poetry of Things, Washington, D.C., 1999, pp. 7, 28, 102, illustration of another example pl. 6
Barbara Buhler Lynes and Russell Bowman, O'Keeffe's O'Keeffes: The Artist's Collection, New York, 2001, p. 79, illustration of another example fig. 5
Jonathan Stuhlman and Barbara Buhler Lynes, Georgia O'Keeffe: Circling Around Abstraction, Manchester, Vermont, 2007, pp. 42, 43, illustration of another example fig. 3
Susan Danly, Georgia O'Keeffe and the Camera: The Art of Identity, New Haven, Connecticut, 2008, pp. 8-9, 50-51, illustrations of other examples
Barbara Haskell, ed., Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction, New Haven, Connecticut, 2009, p. 25, illustration of another example pl. 9
Tanya Barson, ed., Georgia O'Keeffe, London, 2016, pp. 33, 67, 234, illustrations of other examples
Wanda M. Corn, Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern, New York, 2017, pp. 38, 39, illustration of another example fig. 27
Georgia O’Keeffe first modeled Abstraction in the spring of 1916 while she was a student at New York’s Teachers College, Columbia University. It was there that she was first exposed to the theories of Arthur Wesley Dow, who saw art as a representation of the artist’s personal feelings – an expression of line, color and the balance of light and dark. Dow served as a mentor for O’Keeffe and was integral in the development of her distinct modernist aesthetic. Completed soon after her mother’s death, Abstraction has been interpreted as a representation of a veiled mourner and O’Keeffe’s version of a memento mori. The elegant vertical format is evocative of the soaring skyscrapers and elongated calla lilies that she would later paint. The initial clay model was first exhibited alongside her abstract drawings at O’Keeffe’s first one-person exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s “291” gallery in 1917, however she did not cast the form in bronze until 1979-80 when she produced an edition of ten.
As Wanda Corn writes, “O’Keeffe applied the same aesthetic of flow and growth in her first piece of modern sculpture. She modeled plasticine into an abstraction that loosely refers to both the natural world and the human body. Its elementary arching form could be a figure in mourning but it also evokes the trajectory of a plant bud pushing up through the earth, its leaves not yet unfurled. That is the magical ambiguity of O’Keeffe’s early organic style; the references are no fixed but slip and slide from the plant world to the human one” (Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern, New York, 2017, p. 38).