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Georgia O'Keeffe

  • I know I am unreasonable about people but there are so many wonderful people whom I can't take the time to know.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Anita Pollitzer, "That's Georgia," Saturday Review ()
  • I like an empty wall because I can imagine what I like on it.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Anita Pollitzer, "That's Georgia," Saturday Review ()
  • I hate flowers — I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in The New York Herald Tribune ()
  • I don't very much enjoy looking at paintings in general. I know too much about them. I take them apart.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Alexander Fried, "An Artist of Her Own School," San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle ()
  • The meaning of a word — to me — is not as exact as the meaning of a color. Colors and shapes make a more definite statement than words.

  • Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.

  • My first memory is of the brightness of light — light all around.

  • ...even if I could put down accurately the thing that I saw and enjoyed, it would not give the observer the kind of feeling it gave me. I had to create an equivalent for what I felt about what I was looking at — not copy it.

  • I have painted portraits that to me are almost photographic. I remember hesitating to show the paintings, they looked so real to me. But they have passed into the world as abstractions — no one seeing what they are.

  • ... I said to myself — I'll paint what I see — what the flower is to me but I'll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it — I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.

  • ... I ... found myself saying to myself — I can't live where I want to — I can't go where I want to — I can't do what I want to — I can't even say what I want to. ... I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to and say what I wanted to when I painted as that seemed to be the only thing I could do that didn't concern anybody but myself ...

  • ...to create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage.

  • ... we would see a long line of cattle like black lace against the sunset sky.

  • Happiness goes like the wind, but what is interesting stays.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Eleanor Munro, Originals: American Women Artists ()
  • God told me if I painted that mountain enough, I could have it.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Laurie Lisle, Portrait of an Artist ()
  • I see no reason for painting anything that can be put into any other form as well.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • 1930, in Laurie Lisle, Portrait of an Artist ()
  • Nothing is less real than realism — details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Laurie Lisle, Portrait of an Artist ()
  • The days one works are the best days.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Lisa Mintz Messinger, Georgia O'Keeffe ()
  • ... in a way — nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small — we haven't time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • "Horizons of a Pioneer," in Life ()
  • War is killing the individual in it unless he has learned livingness — if he had it he wouldn't be a good soldier.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • 1917, in Jack Cowart and Juan Hamilton, eds., Georgia O'Keeffe: Art and Letters ()
  • I feel there is something unexplored about women that only a woman can explore.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • 1925, in Jack Cowart and Juan Hamilton, eds., Georgia O'Keeffe: Art and Letters ()
  • That nervous energy that makes people like you and I want and go after everything in the world — bump our heads on all the hard walls and scratch our hands on all the briars — but it makes living great — doesn't it — I'm glad I want everything in the world — good and bad — bitter and sweet — I want it all and a lot of it too --

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • letter to Anita Pollitzer (1915), in Clive Giboire, ed., Lovingly, Georgia ()
  • ...I believe an artist is the last person in the world who can afford to be affected.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • letter to Anita Pollitzer (1915), in Clive Giboire, ed., Lovingly, Georgia ()
  • It always seems to me that so few people live — they just seem to exist and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't live always — til we die physically ...

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • letter to Anita Pollitzer (1915), in Clive Giboire, ed., Lovingly, Georgia ()
  • ... his letters ... have been like fine cold water when you are terribly thirsty ...

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • letter to Anita Pollitzer (1916), in Clive Giboire, ed., Lovingly, Georgia ()
  • I don't know what Art is but I know some things it isn't when I see them.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • letter to Anita Pollitzer (1917), in Clive Giboire, ed., Lovingly, Georgia ()
  • Art is a wicked thing. It is what we are.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Benita Eisler, O'Keeffe and Stieglitz: An American Romance ()
  • I found things I could say with color and shapes that I couldn't say in any other way ... things I had no words for.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Shirley Glubok, Painting: Great Lives ()
  • A flower touches everyone's heart.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Shirley Glubok, Painting: Great Lives ()
  • I realized that were I to paint flowers small, no one would look at them because I was unknown. So I thought I'll make them big, like the huge buildings going up. People will be startled; they'll have to look at them — and they did.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Eric Maisel, Fearless Creating ()
  • The morning is the best time, there are no people around. My pleasant disposition likes the world with nobody in it.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • "Horizons of a Pioneer," in Life ()
  • Since I cannot sing, I paint.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • "Austere Stripper," in Time ()
  • Filling a space in a beautiful way — that is what art means to me.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • in Art News ()
  • When I began to paint flowers, I was sure nobody would pay attention. So I thought, I'll make them big and they'll pay attention ...

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • "Horizons of a Pioneer," in Life ()

Georgia O'Keeffe, U.S. artist

(1887 - 1986)

Full name: Georgia Totto O’Keeffe.