Category Archives: Georgia O’Keeffe

America after the Fall, Royal Academy, London

Grant Wood’s iconic American Gothic 1930

Another excellent exhibition at the Royal Academy. The poster shows Grant Wood’s iconic American Gothic. I had never liked this painting that  I’d only seen in reproduction – glanced quickly and thought ‘What a miserable couple!’. In fact it’s of Grant Wood’s dentist and his sister, Nan. The house behind them is owned by the Dibble family. When you look carefully, Nan is quite pretty, with a gorgeous complexion so much better in the original painting.

Not much in the way of Abstract Expressionism, though there had just been a huge exhibition of those works. Just one Georgia O’Keefe – Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses. Grant Wood’s painting of three elderly women – Daughters of Revolution – struck terror – you could imagine them ruling their families and communities with a rod of iron!! There were a few painting reminiscent of German Expressionism – like Philip Evergood’s Dance Marathon and Reginald Marsh’s Twenty Cent Movie. Just one of those sad, evocative Edward Hopper paintings – Gas.

I hadn’t been sure I wanted to visit the exhibition but it was a lovely March day, spring flowers in planters outside many of the shops and the Cherry Trees in blossom and I’m so glad I went out that Sunday.

Not a large exhibition but varied and well worth the visit.

Georgia O’Keefe and Bhupen Khakhar at Tate Modern, London

One of my favourite flower paintings by O'Keeffe
One of my favourite flower paintings by O’Keeffe

I wish I’d seen the BBC1 Imagine program – Georgia O’Keeffe by Myself – before I went to the Tate exhibition. From the poster I had expected to see lots of her flower paintings which I’ve always liked, but there were only two and though I very much liked New York Street with Moon, her Lake George paintings and her paintings of skulls and bones, the exhibition lacked the coherence of the TV program. The exhibition seemed bitty to me, but having watched the program and seen how her art evolved, I appreciate her non-flower works much more. It would be good to visit the exhibition again but there are so many good things to see in London just now, I am unlikely to make it.

One of Khakar's fleshy nudes
One of Khakar’s fleshy nudes

The other works on the same floor were by the Indian painter Bhupen Khakhar. Josh and I both particularly loved the deep blues and greens of the paintings in the first room. A sad man,  plagued by living in a world where his sexuality was forbidden, much of his work is related to his homosexuality. Rich vibrant colours and often moving, I much preferred it to the Georgia O’Keeffe, with the caveat that if I had time to go back I might well revise my opinion of the exhibition of her work.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, we were too tired after visiting both exhibitions in one morning to tour the new Modern Art Wing of Tate Modern. Another day.