A collection of masterworks by Georgia O’Keeffe will lead a Christie’s sale of American Art in New York next month.
The sale’s headline lot is Lake George Reflection, a large-scale O’Keefe work painted circa 1921-22 and inspired by the “Queen of American Lakes” in upstate New York.
The region’s beautiful landscape had previously inspired the Hudson River School painters, but was reinterpreted through O’Keeffe’s avant-garde style of abstraction. It was here, whilst visiting the family home of her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz, that she produced a painting which could be viewed either vertically or horizontally – creating an ambiguity and double layer of meaning.
Viewed horizontally, the painting can be seen as a vivid’ almost traditional landscape; but hung vertically it takes on the far more anthropomorphic comparisons shared by her iconic flower paintings.
Painted at the height of O’Keeffe’s most innovative creative output, Lake George Reflection is an example of her prowess as a master colourist, daring modernist, avant-garde thinker and provocateur, and is estimated at $8-$12 million.
Elsewhere the sale will offer four further O’Keefe works from the collection of Kippy Stroud, a renowned curator, author and founder of the Fabric Workshop Museum.
Leading the collection is Red Hills with Pedernal, White Clouds, painted in 1936 and estimated at $3-$5 million, followed by the early and important abstract work Blue I, painted in 1916, which currently holds the record for an O’Keefe watercolour at $3,008,000 and is expected to sell for up to $3.5 million.
Stroud’s collection also offers another work inspired by the Lake George region, the 1926 painting The Barns, Lake George, estimated at $2-$3 million, and the 1923 still-life Fig, valued at $300,000-$500,000.
The sale takes place on Thursday May 19.