Artibus et Historiae no. 40 (XX)

1999, ISSN 0391-9064

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JUDITH ZILCZER - Light Coming on the Plains: Georgia O'Keeffe's Sunrise Series

Analysis of the origins and critical reception of Georgia O'Keeffe's three-part watercolor series, Light Coming on the Plains Nos. I—III (1917), reveals the evolving significance of her solar imagery. Inspired by the Texas landscape, O'Keeffe developed an abstract visual language shaped by the design principles of her teachers, Alon Bemont and Arthur Dow, and by current theories of such philosophers as Henri Bergson.

While her solar imagery spurred her contemporaries Oscar Bluemner and Arthur Dove to produce abstractions of sunrise, in the postwar period younger artists and critics rediscovered O'Keeffe's series, and her solar imagery became a prototypi­cal emblem for American abstract art at mid-century.

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