At the Met, Georgia O’Keeffe Evokes American Spirit

NEW YORK—As July 4 approached, this Georgia O’Keeffe canvas in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art came to mind. Rendered in the hues of Old Glory, “Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue,” immediately evokes the American Southwest. O’Keeffe’s concentration on the layers of the skull bone and her use of light and shadow to define them is in keeping with her approach to the floral portraits for which is most recognized.

“Painted at a time when American artists, writers and musicians were trying to identify a quintessentially American style and subject, O’Keeffe offered her own perspective,” the museum label states. “To her, the haunting beauty of the weathered animal skulls she collected in the Southwest captured the true enduring spirit of the nation.”

“Cow’s Skull” is on display in the museum’s Modern and Contemporary Galleries.

Photos by Arts Observer

“Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue,” 1931 (oil on canvas).

Detail of “Cow’s Skull.”

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