Can you smell the flowers?

O’Keefe elevated the position of this common weed to something spectacular and memorable through her painting.

January 05, 2019 04:03 pm | Updated 04:03 pm IST

Do you enjoy drawing and painting flowers? So did Georgia O’Keefe, an American artist, who loved flowers and wanted to paint them in a way that made busy people stop and pay attention. She became famous for painting flowers and nature. One of her masterpieces is an oil painting of weeds growing in the backyard of her house in New Mexico.

Close up

The painting is called Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1. Jimson weeds are poisonous and look ugly in the daytime but at night they bloom with beautiful white, scented flowers. The artist painted four of these blossoms in a large painting, 48 X 40 inches. You can see the green leaves of the plant but almost the whole painting is that of the flowers. There is a very small, pale blue background. You can see the pinwheel design of the flowers. The petals are shaded to look so real, you can almost touch them. The painting looks like a close up photograph of the flowers. Georgia O’Keefe’s husband was a photographer and so were many of her friends. She liked the idea of taking close up photos, making objects look larger than they actually are. O’Keefe’s style of painting is known as Modernist art.

A famous cosmetics business owner, Elizabeth Arden, asked the artist to create the Jimson Weeds painting in 1936 to hang in the exercise room for her clients. In 1987, the painting was bought in auction by the owner of Walmart stores for 44.4 million dollars. This made Jimson Weed the most expensive artwork ever sold by a female artist. The painting is owned by the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas, U.S. Sometimes, it is loaned to other museums to be shown in exhibitions in other parts of the world.

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