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Wall with Green Door

georgia o'keeffe |
Wall with Green Door, by Georgia O’Keeffe, 1952. The Corcoran Gallery of Art.

This is one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu patio door images that’s not commonly referenced. Sharyn R. Udall writes in O’Keeffe and Texas (catalog to the exhibit of the same name by the McNay Art Museum in 1998):

“Later in the 1940s O’Keeffe restored a ruined New Mexico adobe house in the village of Abiquiu, not far from Ghost Ranch. It was a house she said she bought for its black patio door, and she proceeded to paint that door with insistence. In all seasons and weathers she recorded its shape, punctuating the otherwise featureless adobe wall. Mostly she painted it as one saw it — an inky black. But sometimes she experimented with color, as in “Wall with Green Door” (1952; cat. 31). Here the pale green rectangle floats, slightly off-center, against the warm tan wall expanse. Only its deeper shading toward the top suggests the door’s recession within the wall, a single whisper of depth in a painting of otherwise unrelieved flatness. A painter without O’Keeffe’s long experience in distilling observed forms could not have pulled it off: a composition of horizontal ribbons, minimalist, yet not abstract.”

Ann Daly PhD is an essayist specializing in women and women's history. She is working on a book about Georgia O'Keeffe.

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