Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue

Artist:
Georgia O'Keeffe (American, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 1887–1986 Santa Fe, New Mexico)
Date:
1931
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
39 7/8 x 35 7/8 in. (101.3 x 91.1 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1952
Accession Number:
52.203
Not on view
Weary of life in the metropolis, O’Keeffe began taking regular retreats to Lake George, New York, and then to New Mexico. After her first extended trip to the Southwest in 1929, her artistic interests shifted from the buildings of New York to the nature of New Mexico. In this work, O’Keeffe isolates a single skull, highlighting its jagged edges, worn surfaces, and bleached color. To O’Keeffe, such bones represented the desert’s enduring beauty and the strength of the American spirit, which is alluded to in the striped background. In 1949 O’Keeffe settled permanently in New Mexico, where she lived until her death in 1986.
Inscription: Initialed (on cardboard backing, in center of five-pointed star, in graphite): OK
the artist (1931–52; on extended loan to MMA, 1949–52; her gift as part of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection to MMA)

An American Place. "Georgia O'Keeffe: 33 New Paintings," December 27, 1931–February 11, 1932, no catalogue.

Art Institute of Chicago. "Georgia O'Keeffe," January 21–February 22, 1943, no. 44.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "20th Century Painters: A Special Exhibition of Oils, Water Colors and Drawings Selected from the Collections of American Art in the Metropolitan Museum," June 16–October 29, 1950, unnum. brochure (p. 9).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fourteen American Masters: Paintings from Colonial Times to Today," October 16, 1958–January 4, 1959, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Three Centuries of American Painting," April 9–October 17, 1965, unnum. checklist.

The White House, Washington D.C. "The White House Festival of the Arts," June 14, 1965, brochure no. 28.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Georgia O'Keeffe," October 8–November 29, 1970, no. 73.

Art Institute of Chicago. "Georgia O'Keeffe," January 6–February 7, 1971, no. 73.

San Francisco Museum of Art. "Georgia O'Keeffe," March 15–April 30, 1971, no. 73.

Moscow. State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. "Representations of America," December 15, 1977–February 15, 1978, no catalogue.

Leningrad. State Hermitage Museum. "Representations of America," March 15–May 15, 1978, no catalogue.

Minsk, Belarus. Palace of Art. "Representations of America," June 15–August 15, 1978, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Tribute to a Curator: Robert Beverly Hale," November 16, 1978–March 4, 1979, unnum. checklist.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "William Carlos Williams and the American Scene, 1920–1940," December 12, 1978–February 4,1979, unnumbered cat. (fig. 102).

Canberra. Australian National Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," March 1–April 27, 1986, unnumbered cat. (p. 57).

Brisbane. Queensland Art Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," May 7–July 1, 1986, unnumbered cat.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Georgia O'Keeffe: 1887–1986," November 19, 1988–February 5, 1989, not in catalogue (unnumbered checklist addenda).

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Georgia O'Keeffe: 1887–1986," March 30–June 18, 1989, not in catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "14 Americans," July 16, 1990–January 2, 1991, unnum. checklist.

Turin. Galleria Lingotto. "Arte Americana, 1930–1970," January 11–March 31, 1992, unnumbered cat. (p. 87).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe," October 13, 2011–January 2, 2012, no. 189.

Edward Alden Jewell. "Art: Georgia O'Keeffe Shows Work." New York Times (December 29, 1931), p. 28.

Henry McBride. "Skeletons on the Plains: Miss O'Keeffe Returns from the West with Grewsome Trophies." New York Sun (January 2, 1932), p. 8, ill., as "Death and Transformation".

Elizabeth McCausland. "Georgia O'Keeffe Exhibits Skulls and Roses of 1931." Springfield Sunday Union and Republican (January 10, 1932), p. 6E, ill., as "Life and Transformation".

Robert Beverly Hale. 100 American Painters of the 20th Century: Works Selected from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1950, pp. xx, 58, ill., cover ill.

James Thrall Soby in New Art in America: Fifty Painters of the 20th Century. Ed. John I. H. Baur. Greenwich, Conn., 1957, ill. p. 110.

Henry Geldzahler. American Painting in the Twentieth Century. New York, 1965, pp. 132-33, ill.

Dorothy Seiberling. "Horizons of a Pioneer: Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico." Life 64 (March 1, 1968), cover ill.

George M. Cohen. A History of American Art. New York, 1971, p. 177.

Charles Child Eldredge. "Georgia O'Keeffe: The Development of an American Modern." PhD diss., University of Minnesota, 1971, pp. xv, 258, fig. 45.

Nora B. Beeson. Guide to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1972, p. 279, no. 8.

Marshall B. Davidson. The American Heritage History of the Artists' America. New York, 1973, p. 330, ill.

Georgia O'Keeffe. Georgia O'Keeffe. New York, 1976, text facing pl. 58, ill.

Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 508–9, fig. 922.

Patricia Janis Broder. The American West: The Modern Vision. Boston, 1984, pp. 158-59, 168, ill.

Lisa Mintz Messinger. "Georgia O'Keeffe." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 42 (Fall 1984), pp. 46-47, 49, 60, fig. 46.

Jan Garden Castro. The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe. New York, 1985, pp. 90, 92.

Sasha M. Newman. Georgia O'Keeffe. Washington, D. C., 1985, p. 29, pl. 14.

Edith Evans Asbury. "Georgia O'Keeffe Dead at 98: Shaper of Modern Art in U.S." New York Times (March 7, 1986), p. A17, ill.

Erika Billeter. "Georgia O'Keeffe's Bilder." Du (May 1987), p. 59, ill.

Lisa Mintz Messinger. Georgia O'Keeffe. New York, 1988, pp. 72-73, fig. 54.

Michael Berry. Georgia O'Keeffe. New York, 1988, pp. 70-71, ill.

Anita Pollitzer. A Woman on Paper: Georgia O'Keeffe. New York, 1988, pp. 211-12, ill.

Roxana Robinson. Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life. New York, 1989, pp. 366-67.

Doris Bry and Nicholas Callaway, ed. Georgia O'Keeffe in the West. New York, 1989, pl. 27.

Sarah Whitaker Peters. Becoming O'Keeffe: The Early Years. New York, 1991, p. 357 n. 107.

Charles Child Eldredge. Georgia O'Keeffe. New York, 1991, pp. 118-21, ill.

Christopher Merrill and Ellen Bradbury, ed. From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O'Keeffe as Icon. Reading, Mass., 1992, pp. 63-64, fig. 5.

Elizabeth Montgomery. Georgia O'Keeffe. New York, 1993, pp. 112-13, ill.

Mike Venezia. Georgia O'Keeffe. Chicago, 1993, cover ill.

Maria Costantino. Georgia O'Keeffe. New York, 1994, pp. 35, 118.

Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd ed. (1st ed., 1983). New York, 1994, p. 441, no. 19, ill. (color).

Jula Dech. Georgia O'Keeffe: Gemälde. Munich, 1995, fig. 25.

Lois Palken Rudnick. Utopian Vistas: The Mabel Dodge Luhan House and the American Counterculture. Albuquerque, 1996, pp. 134-36, ill.

Lisa Mintz Messinger in The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Ed. Peter H. Hassrick. New York, 1997, p. 41.

Barbara Buhler Lynes. Georgia O'Keeffe: Catalogue Raisonné. New Haven, 1999, vol. 1, pp. 468–69, no. 773, ill.

Sarah Greenough in Sarah Greenough. Modern Art and America: Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D. C., 2000, p. 460, fig. 126.

Lisa Mintz Messinger. Georgia O'Keeffe. London, 2001, pp. 82, 126, 128–29, fig. 82.

Barbara Buhler Lynes with Russell Bowman. O'Keeffe's O'Keeffes: The Artist's Collection. Exh. cat., Milwaukee Art Museum. New York, 2001, pp. 50, 169.

Jonathan Weinberg. Ambition and Love in Modern Art. New Haven, 2001, pp. 107-9, 114, fig. 5.2.

Erika Doss. Twentieth–Century American Art. Oxford, 2002, pp. 89–91, fig. 43 (color).

Vivien Green Fryd. Art and the Crisis of Marriage: Edward Hopper and Georgia O'Keeffe. Chicago, 2003, pp. 184–85, fig. 109.

Llorenç Bonet and Sol Kliczkowski, ed. Frank Lloyd Wright, Georgia O'Keeffe. New York, 2003, pp. 88-89, ill.

Danielle Tilkin et al. New York et l'art moderne: Alfred Stieglitz et son cercle (1905–1930). Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 2004, pp. 236, 238, fig. 74 (Spanish ed., 2004).

Hunter Drohojowska-Philp. Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe. New York and London, 2004, pp. 332-33, ill. between pp. 376-77.

Janet Souter. Georgia O'Keeffe. London, 2005, fig. 36.

Janet Souter. Georgia O'Keeffe. New York, 2005, pp. 117, 120, 122, ill.

John Carlin and Jonathan Fineberg. Imagining America: Icons of 20th-Century American Art. New Haven and London, 2005, pp. 42, 46, 51–52, ill. pp. 48 (overall), 2, 49 (details).

Susan Wright. Georgia O'Keeffe: An Eternal Spirit. (1st ed., 1996). [New York], 2006, pp. 84-85, ill.

Lothar Schirmer, ed. Georgia O'Keeffe/John Loengard: Paintings and Photographs, a Visit to Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch. Munich, 2006, book jacket (detail ill.), fig. 47.

Jonathan Stuhlman and Barbara Buhler Lynes. Georgia O'Keeffe: Circling Around Abstraction. Exh. cat., Norton Museum of Art. West Palm Beach, 2007, p. 30, fig. 17.

Katja Fauth. Modernist Visions in Taos: Mabel Dodge Luhan and the Artists of the Stieglitz Circle. Marburg, Germany, 2009, pp. 163, 171-73, 192, fig. 35.

Lisa Mintz Messinger in Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe. The Alfred Stieglitz Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Lisa Mintz Messinger. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 8, 14, 193, 202-3, 281, no. 189, ill. (color).

Sarah Greenough, ed. My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Vol. 1, 1915–1933. New Haven, Conn., 2011, pp. 596, 603–4, 630.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 2012, p. 416, ill. (color).

Barbara Buhler Lynes Carolyn Kastner. Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico. Exh. cat.Sante Fe, 2012, pp. 34–35.



Related Objects

Grey Tree, Lake George

Artist: Georgia O'Keeffe (American, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 1887–1986 Santa Fe, New Mexico) Date: 1925 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 1987.377.2 On view in:Not on view

Grey Line with Lavender and Yellow

Artist: Georgia O'Keeffe (American, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 1887–1986 Santa Fe, New Mexico) Date: ca. 1923 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 1987.377.1 On view in:Gallery 913

Red and Yellow Cliffs

Artist: Georgia O'Keeffe (American, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 1887–1986 Santa Fe, New Mexico) Date: 1940 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 1987.377.4 On view in:Not on view

East River from the Shelton Hotel

Artist: Georgia O'Keeffe (American, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 1887–1986 Santa Fe, New Mexico) Date: 1928 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 1987.377.3 On view in:Gallery 902

Seated Nude X

Artist: Georgia O'Keeffe (American, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 1887–1986 Santa Fe, New Mexico) Date: 1917 Medium: Watercolor on paper Accession: 1981.324 On view in:Not on view