23rd June – 17th July 2022

Georgia O’Keeffe: Memories of Drawings is a brand new Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition which presents a remarkable collection of work from the pioneering American artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

This new display will showcase 21 photogravures of drawings produced by the artist between 1915-1963, reflecting the period in which O’Keeffe established herself as a major figure in American Modernism. 

Renowned for her distinctive balance of abstraction with figuration and her tenacity in pursuing her innovative style, Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) is one of the most important artists in 20th Century American art. Her iconic works of organic forms – including flowers and bones – surreal abstractions, rural landscapes and urban cityscapes uniquely captured the experience of her environment and broke new ground for women artists. 

Although best known as a painter, drawing was central to O’Keeffe’s practice. It was her pivotal charcoal abstractions which secured her inaugural exhibitions in 1916-17, organised by the prominent photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, who later became her husband. She used drawing as a language to evoke important moments and emotions – the curve of a flower petal, a desert horizon, the wave of one’s hair, or the flow of a winding road. 

The works in this display demonstrate O’Keeffe’s distinctive style and chart the key trajectories and motifs in her practice. Photogravure is a printmaking process that produces etchings with the tone and detail of a photograph through exposure onto a copper plate. The exhibition includes nine prints of her earliest charcoal abstracts alongside works originally rendered in pencil and watercolour, capturing subjects ranging from the artist’s early morning excursions with her sister, to surreal still lifes of seashells, banana flowers and animal horns. Together, these important documents reflect a formative collection that O’Keeffe produced with her agent and long-term friend Doris Bry. 

Displayed alongside her drawings, exhibition texts will also recall the artist’s own commentary – sourced from a fragmentary but often poetic text she published alongside the collection – about why she made these drawings.  

Georgia O’Keeffe: Memories of Drawings is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition from the Southbank Centre, London, opening at The Beaney from Saturday 23 October to Sunday 8 December 2021. Admission is free, with donations encouraged. Curated by Charlotte Baker, Assistant Curator.

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