Two Pears, Georgia O'Keeffe, 1921
Georgia O'Keeffe was raised on a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin. This gave her a love of nature that is reflected in her art. Her still life paintings are among the best loved of her works. One of the most influential and innovative artists of the 20th century, O'Keeffe was the first woman to have her own exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art
By the mid-1920s O'Keeffe began making large-scale paintings of natural forms at close range, as if seen through a magnifying lens. With her still life paintings, she took a very realistic look at her subjects but enlarged them so massively that their details became unfamiliar. In this way she combined abstract art with representational art. O'Keeffe told her students to find art in the everyday. Her art is an emotional response to the things around her. She concentrated on colors and shapes that corresponded to her feelings.
A still life is an ancient form of painting in which mostly inanimate objects are depicted in an artificial setting. Still life images have been found on the interior of ancient Egyptian tombs. The ancient Egyptians believed food objects and other items depicted on the walls of the tombs would, in the afterlife, become real and available for use by the deceased. Still life paintings make it easier for the artist to arrange design elements within a composition.
Still Life With Apples and Pears, Paul Cezanne, 1885-87
Still Life With Pears, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888
A Still Life of Pears, Peaches, Grapes and Quinces in a Basket, Balthasar van der Ast, 17th Century
Pyrus communis "Pillsbury," from USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection
Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom is a program of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, 4-H Youth Development, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.