She came to New York in an era of growing skyscrapers and they became her main subject in cityscapes. Almost all of them stick to elongated, vertical proportions highlight buildings' monumental scale.[caption id="attachment_3124" align="aligncenter" width="620"] On the left: Georgia O'Keeffe, Radiator Building - Night, New York, 1927. On the right: The Shelton with Sunspots, N.Y., 1926 © 2014 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society[/caption]
Some paintings show skyscrapers' splendor, especially in the night, when they become richly illuminated, almost immaterial towers of light. But the artist also captured Shelton Hotel, in which she herself lived, in a bright daylight, sun glaring from behind its facade. It's also interesting how she transforms photographic effect, lens flare, into painting in the form of yellow and orange dots.[caption id="attachment_3125" align="aligncenter" width="440"] Georgia O'Keeffe, Manhattan, 1932, Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation[/caption]
O'Keeffe was a part of an American movement called Precisionism and although she painted some abstractions she mainly sticked to depicting reality, but in synthesized, sometimes very decorative form.[caption id="attachment_3137" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Georgia O'Keeffe, East River from the 30th Story of Shelton Hotel, 1928, The New Britain Museum of American Art, Stephen B. Lawrence Fund[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3138" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Georgia O'Keeffe, East River No. 1, 1927 / Artists Rights Society[/caption]
But New York is not, and definitely wasn't in those days neither, just Manhattan's skyline. O'Keeffe not only painted hotel in which she lived itself, but also the view from its window, dominated by factory chimneys.[caption id="attachment_3128" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Georgia O'Keeffe, City Night, 1926, Photo: Bridgeman Images/ © 2016 Georgie O'Keeffe Museum/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York[/caption]
Despite all the fascination she had for the city, her main interest was not man-made structures, but nature. Even while in New York, she searched for the little patches of sky and clouds high above, between the tops of the skyscrapers. She started traveling to New Mexico. Finally, she decided to live there permanently. Maybe this decision was easier to make regarding reception of her cityscapes. In man-dominated environment, her fellow artists were advising her to stick to the flowers, rather that to paint skyscrapers, which they thought were... a men's theme.