style icon

style icon: georgia o’keeffe

by Amy Azzarito

[Today we’re launching a new column inspired by the talented women that inspire all of us here at Design*Sponge. Our goal is to celebrate their incredible style and talent and perhaps introduce them for the first time to a younger generation of artists, designers and design-enthusiasts. Stay tuned for posts on amazing women, past & present, like Peggy Guggenheim, Dorothy Draper and Hella Jongerius. -Grace]

You know that moment in a dinner party where there’s a lull in conversation and someone asks the question about dream dinner guests – there’s pressure to name someone obscure, smart and witty.  I actually have no idea who’d I resurrect for the dinner party but there’s plenty of worlds I’d like to escape into – one designed by Frida Kahlo, Ray Eames or Peggy Guggenheim. I thought it might be fun to explore those different worlds, and who better to start with than Georgia O’Keeffe? In the summer 1929, Georgia O’Keeffe, looking for new inspiration, traveled by train from New York to the New Mexico. She became captivated by what she found and would return summer after summer, eventually moving permanently from New York, settling down at Ghost Ranch. (Architectural Digest has some great photos of O’Keeffe’s home at Ghost Ranch). She wore men’s shoes, a black Parson’s hat and simple black and white clothing and explored New Mexico in her Ford Model A, collecting bones and rock from the desert.  I’ve always wanted to spend time exploring New Mexico. Diving into Georgia O’Keefee’s world has moved the trip to the top of my list.   –Amy Azzarito

Image above: 1. Parson’s Padre Hat $149 2.  bend seating $450 3. Brass Cow Skull Necklace $265 (New Zealand dollars) 4. drop glass tillandsia kit $40 5. sterling & turquoise concho cuff bracelet $125 6. Taos Ikat Sham $98 7. Kiva ladders $48-191 8. Tea Services Kyoto Japanese Tetsubin Teapot $55.99

Image above: Cow’s Skull, 1931  Georgia O’Keeffe pouring tea at Ghost Ranch, 1962 Georgia O’Keeffe, ca 1960

See more Georgia O’Keeffe after the jump!

Image above: Georgia O’Keeffe reading a letter at Ghost Ranch, 1961 Georgia O’Keefe at Ghost Ranch , O’Keeffe and Skull 1942 O’Keeffe in 1937

Image above: 1. Blythe blouse in silk $98 2. Hammock swing $230 3. live edge maple shelf $300 4. lucky horseshoe $5.05 5. nicole miller cow skull earrings $289 6. ladderback chair $245 7. river rock mortar & pestle $45


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  • What a perfect person to start this series off with! I find her to be inspiring in all aspects of art, design, and lifestyle. I think New Mexico is calling my name as well.

  • Thank you for the link to the AD slideshow of O’Keeffe’s New Mexico home. Marvelous.

  • Good choice to start out your new column. Georgia O’Keefe is a definite style icon and one of my favorite artists. I love that you took the “living in” concept and used it for a person! Keep up the great work!

  • What a fantastic idea for a new column – this is sure to become another favourite :) I love Georgia O’Keeffe and have driven through New Mexico – it is other-worldly, mysterious and nothing short of breath-taking. You can really understand how it inspired her so deeply. The museum didn’t exist yet but I do remember driving by her house and purchasing a book of her work at another Santa Fe museum. Highly recommend the trip to anyone who is considering it :) Looking forward to other style icon posts!

  • Thank you for this wonderful and inspiring post! If I may suggest another possible subject for a future “Style Icon” posting, it would be Mary Colter. Her buildings and interiors are both rustic and incredibly sophisticated. From her Mimbreno pottery to her stunning architecture in the Grand Canyon, she was truly a design pioneer.

  • Oh wow you just mentioned some names that I would also LOVE to meet! Including Florence Broadhurst and Linda (McCartney’s wife, who seemed so quirky and nice). Looking forward to this!

  • Love the idea for the new feature & will look forward to reading! Georgia O’Keefe is tremendously inspiring for the way she looked at the world and how she lived in it! Very cool!

  • Writing from Georgia O’Keefe’s birthplace; Sun Prairie, WI! I love her work and I recently traveled to New Mexico. It is wonderful!! Be sure to stop in Madrid, NM if you go. It’s a little town/artist’s colony found on the way from Abq. to Sante Fe. Fantastic! Great column-I look forward to many more!

  • I grew up in Georgia O’Keefe’s stomping grounds, and yeah. It’s a good place. Fun to see her here. :-)

  • Oh wow! I studied Georgia O’Keefe at school and haven’t really thought much about her since, until now. This has inspired me so much. I’ll have to go dig out my old sketchbooks!

  • What a marvelous idea! Ms. O’Keefe’s interpretation of the flower’s innate beauty has never failed to inspire me- there’s something so fluid in them, like sinking into a dream. Thank you for sharing this.

  • I have had O’Keefe’s work in my mind for many years during my art studies and would love to have met her. My last big piece, in homage to her ‘Black Cross’, is on my home page, if anyone would like to see how her work filters down into other artists’ work.

  • Very good choice! I was able to visit her home in New Mexico and want to tell anyone who is creative or needs some serious inspiration to go there. I would call the experience life changing. She was an incredible woman.

  • I’m in New Mexico right now, Roswell in fact. Come on down, the creativity doesn’t stop in the north, it is all over this state. Fantastic views, museums, food etc. I love the new column, looking forward to more inspirations.

  • This is a great idea for a column since so many artists inspire the design world. I would love more contextual analysis of her life and why she was an important figure in the world of art.

  • Beautifully done – Have you seen Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party at the Brooklyn Museum? There’s a lot of fabulous inspiration there.

  • ooh, love this column idea and i love georgie o keefe!! so glad you showed her desert series instead of the usual giant vagina flower paintings :) her stuff from the new york period is also pretty awesome in an incredibly dark way.

  • I think that O’Keefe painting may be called “Ram’s Head, White Hollyhock, and Little Hills” instead.

  • Oh, thank you so much! Georgia O’Keeffe is my art and style heroine! This is a great feature and concept.

  • I love this woman. She is after my own heart. If you have a chance take a look at her many many words: “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”
    ― Georgia O’Keeffe

    Also, floating around on VHS is an old PBS documentary of her in her advanced years. The interviewer follows her on her walks and she talks about her paintings and process. It is absolutely amazing. I fell in love with her after seeing it and realizing the depth of her work. Thanks for highlighting her!

  • I love Georgia! I taught her work as an art docent. You would not believe the fabulous work the 3rd graders created through her influence. I am so excited to see more in this new series!

  • Oh neat new series! I was going to say the same thing as Jennifer she was born in WI. . we have a small collection of her work featured in the Milwaukee Art Museum, and she was just featured in this last issue of the Scholastic Art magazine. I had a longhorn skull in my classroom that was always neat to show the kids when discussing her work.

  • I loved the link to the AD slideshow. The interior of the house is so simple and the way the large windows frame the view is wonderful. She must have felt so free there. I would love to visit the house sometime. Her watercolours have always been amongst my favourite of her work.

  • Wondeful column. I went just last year on the day tour at Ghost Ranch. We stopped at various places where Georgia O’Keefe was so inspired beautiful with wide open spaces. Enjoy her and this column. So inspiring. Thanks.