41 pastel drawing of a bright blue sea with patches of brown rocks; touch of green at center

%C2%A9 2017 Georgia O%27Keeffe Museum %2F Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York

Blue Sea with Rocks, 1922



Gift of Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrisonexpand_more  2017.121

Not on Viewexpand_more

Georgia O’Keeffe had a special talent for defining the essential character of a place. Throughout her life, she was attracted to places that represented extremes—the man-made canyons in New York City and the desert landscapes of the Southwest. In the 1920s she made several summer visits to York Beach, Maine, finding refuge from the heat and hustle of New York. Blue Sea with Rocks is from her third season there, in 1922.

At first glance the composition reads as a flat image—perhaps pure abstraction. Then the flatness shifts and becomes infinite depth as we note the white streak marking the horizon. Colors catch our attention—greens in the water and brown, green, and lavender in the rocks. The deep blue of the open ocean fades to lighter tones in the shallow cove. The brown face of the upper rock reveals that the light comes from over the artist’s right shoulder. Abstraction, which earlier in O’Keeffe’s career had been a pure pursuit, has given way to a portrait of a bright summer afternoon.

Blue Sea with Rocks
Artist Life
1887 - 1986
Accession Number
[Alfred Stieglitz, New York; sold to Stieglitz]; Dr. Leo Stieglitz, New York (in 1920s); by descent. [Doris Bry, New York; until at least 1991; with Joan T. Washburn, New York, 1989; with Hirschl and Adler, New York, 1991]. Private collection, New York (1993-94; to Washburn); [Joan T. Washburn, New York, 1994-95; sold to Harrisons]; Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison, Wayzata (since 1995)
Curator Approved

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41 pastel drawing of a bright blue sea with patches of brown rocks; touch of green at center

© 2017 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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