“The men were all talking about the great American novel, the great American play,...the great American everything,” said Georgia O’Keeffe, who fled the East Coast art world for New Mexico. “So I thought . . . I’ll make it an American painting.”Red Canna
A flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations with a flower - the idea of flowers. You put out your hand to touch the flower – lean forward to smell it – maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking – or give it to someone to please them. Still – in a way – nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.. ..’So I said to myself – I’ll paint what I see – what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it – I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers: ‘Well – I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower – and I don’t.
- Contribution (1939) to the exhibition catalogue An American place (1944)
Pelvis with the Distance 1943 oil
So, probably.. .. when I started painting the pelvis bones I was most interested in the holes in the bones – what I saw through them- particularly the blue from holding them up in the sun against the sky as one is apt to do when one seems to have more sky than earth in one’s world.. ..they were most beautiful against the Blue – that Blue that will always be there as it is now after all man’s destruction is finished.
- Contribution to the exhibition catalogue An American Place (1944)