Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings of Hawaii’s flowers will be shown with an accompanying floral display

Harold Stein photographed artist Georgia O’Keeffe on a beach near Hana, Maui, during her 1939 visit to the then Territory of Hawaii. Twenty of the paintings she created during her stay will be exhibited this summer in New York City.
(Alfred Stieglitz/Georgia O’Keeffe Archive, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Georgia O’Keeffe is best known for her paintings inspired by New Mexico’s flowers and landscapes, but she also turned her eye on Hawaii during a three-month stay in what was then a U.S. territory in 1939.

O’Keeffe’s lesser-known Hawaiian works were inspired by the tropical flora on the islands. Starting May 19, 20 of her paintings of Hawaii will go on display at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

“Pineapple Bud,” an oil on canvas, is one of the works painted by Georgia O’Keeffe in Hawaii in 1939. She traveled to the islands after being commissioned to create promotional materials for the Hawaiian Pineapple Co. (now Dole).
(Copyright 2018, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society, New York )

The artist had been commissioned by the Hawaiian Pineapple Co. (now Dole) to paint pieces for a promotional campaign.


The last time O’Keeffe’s Hawaii works were displayed together in New York City was in 1940, shortly after they were completed.

Georgia O’Keeffe found the Hawaiian flora, such as the hibiscus, far different from that of New Mexico, where she spent much of her career.
(Copyright 2018, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society, New York )

Along with O’Keeffe’s paintings, the botanical garden’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory will feature a lush floral display evocative of the gardens and landscapes that inspired the artist nearly 80 years ago. The exhibit was designed by Scott Pask, a Tony Award-winning set designer.

Combined admission to the gallery and gardens costs $28 for adults.


“Heliconia: Crab’s Claw Ginger” is one of the works painted by Georgia O’Keeffe during her three-month stay in Hawaii in 1939.
(Copyright 2018, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society, New York )

On nine Saturdays during the summer, “Aloha Nights” will amplify the feel of a trip to the islands. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., there will be after-hours viewings of the gardens and gallery, along with craft demonstrations plus Hawaiian food and cocktails.

Tickets to the Saturday evening activities are $38, with advance booking required.

The show continues through Oct. 28.

Info: “Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii,” (718) 817-8700


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