Red Canna by Georgia O'Keeffe
Red Canna by Georgia O'Keeffe

Red Canna, 1915

Georgia O'Keeffe

O’Keeffe wrote, “I paint because color is significant.” The vibrant red of these canna flowers is arguably the most significant element of this watercolor on paper, though the three dimensionality of the petals and asymmetrical arrangement of the bouquet make it almost seem to dance. It’s the first painting the artist made of this subject, at a moment in her development when her style began to evolve towards abstraction. Her later oil paintings of canna flowers became progressively more abstract, close-up and cropped. O’Keeffe pursued subjects, such as these flowers, intensively and repeatedly, trying to capture their essence, both in spirit and form.

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