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Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986) Banyan Tree with Palms, Bermuda

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American & European Works of Art - 2779B
Date / Time :
January 23, 2015 4:00PM


Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986)

Banyan Tree with Palms, Bermuda
Unsigned, titled and dated "...1934" on a detached label with the printed heading
"GEORGIA O'KEEFFE/Abiquiu, New Mexico" and identified on detached labels from Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., and Robert Miller Gallery, Inc., both of New York, and the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (see below).
Graphite on paper, sheet size 21 3/4 x 14 3/4 in. (55.3 x 37.6 cm), framed.
Condition: Gentle toning, slight creases to lower corners.

Provenance: From the artist to Dorothy Bray until 1975; through to Harold Diamond, New York, 1977; to Robert Miller Gallery, New York; to Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York; purchased from Hirschl & Adler in 1981 by Elizabeth Stanley, Tucson, Arizona, then by descent to the current owner.

Literature: Barbara Buhler Lynes, Georgia O'Keeffe (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999) catalogue raisonné number 842, vol. I, p. 523; The Eye of Stieglitz, (New York: Hirschl & Adler Galleries, 1978), p. 64 (illus.); Art on Paper (Greensboro, North Carolina: Weatherspoon Art Gallery, 1977), cat. no. 86 (illus.).

Exhibitions: Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Annual Exhibition, 1977, November 13-December 18, 1977, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro; The Eye of Stieglitz, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, October 7-November 2, 1978; Georgia O'Keeffe: The Bermuda Respite, Bermuda National Gallery, Hamilton, Bermuda, October 29, 1994 - January 25, 1995.

N.B. Georgia O'Keeffe sojourned in Bermuda in 1933 and 1934, to rest and recuperate from a serious illness. O'Keeffe had suffered a nervous breakdown in 1933, and after a seven-week hospital stay, she decided to take a trip accompanied by her friend Marjorie Content. She sought the solitude of a place where she was not known, and she found comfort in the warm climate and beauty in the green-blue waters of Bermuda.

During her two Bermuda trips O'Keeffe executed a series of charcoal and pencil drawings of banana blossoms and banyan trees. This aspect of her work was not well known. It was considered surprising that O'Keeffe produced these drawings at a time when it was supposed she was not working at all. However, this series of drawings also seems to fit a pattern in O'Keeffe's oeuvre. After times of personal crisis she would often turn to drawing rather than painting to regain her creative energy and focus. In a letter to Rebecca Strand dated Bermuda, 26 April 1934, O'Keeffe mused about the drawings, "I have been drawing some here - very dull drawings- I get so interested in them it quite amuses me." (1) In that same letter she expressed her early thoughts of finding a house in New Mexico, calling it the easiest way for her to get back to work.

O'Keeffe would not visit Bermuda again after 1934, settling in New Mexico with its vast open space and heat, where she would enter a period of great creativity. However Bermuda appears to have offered the artist a timely place of respite before the next phase of her career.

In 1994, to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of O'Keeffe's visit to the island, The Masterworks Foundation organized an exhibition of the Bermuda works at The Bermuda National Gallery. "Georgia O'Keeffe: The Bermuda Respite" gathered together many of the 14 drawings she created the island, including Banyan Tree with Palms.

1. O'Keeffe, Georgia, Jack Cowart, Juan Hamilton, and Sarah Greenough, Georgia O'Keeffe, Art and Letters (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1987), p.221.

Estimate $40,000-60,000

The sheet is floated within the window mat, affixed to the back mat with folded masking tape and affixed in two or three places on the top edge of the reverse. On the reverse there are probably 8 small remnants of folded linen tape, likely from an earlier mounting, as well as four small abrasions to the paper surface, each measuring about 1/2 x 1/4 inch, where tape has probably been removed, all located around the very outer edges of the reverse. No inscriptions visible on the reverse, only a stray pencil mark.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Bermuda, Barbara Buhler Lynes, Hirschl & Adler Galleries Inc., Palms, New Mexico, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Juan Hamilton, Rebecca Strand, Robert Miller Gallery Inc., The University of North Carolina, Tucson, artist to Dorothy Bray, Dorothy Bray, Elizabeth Stanley, Harold Diamond, Yale University Press, London, New Haven, Yale University, Greensboro, Hamilton, University of North Carolina, Bermuda National Gallery, creative energy, Masterworks Foundation, The Bermuda National Gallery, Sarah Greenough, Jack Cowart, National Gallery of Art