Modern Nature Georgia O'Keeffe and Lake George

Erin B. Coe, Bruce Robertson, Gwendolyn Owens


From 1918 until the early 1930s, Georgia O’Keeffe lived for part of the year on Alfred Stieglitz’s family estate at Lake George, New York. O’Keeffe and Stieglitz stayed there from spring until fall, and she reveled in the discovery of new subject matter. She found respite in the bucolic setting, and in her studio, nicknamed “the shanty,” she could concentrate on her work without the distractions of city life and the Stieglitz clan that congregated at the lake in the summer months. The Lake George retreat provided the basic material for her art, while evoking the spirit of place that was essential to O’Keeffe’s modern approach to the natural world.

This book, and the exhibition it accompanies, examines the extraordinary body of work O’Keeffe created there, from magnified botanical compositions of the flowers and vegetables she grew in her garden to a group of remarkable still lifes of the apples and pears that she picked. O’Keeffe became fascinated with the variety of trees that grew there, and they were the subject of at least twenty-five compositions. Architectural subjects emerged as a theme, as did a number of panoramic landscape paintings and bold, color-filled abstractions. During this highly productive period, O’Keeffe created more than two hundred paintings on canvas and paper in addition to sketches and pastels, making the Lake George years among the most prolific and transformative of her seven-decade career.



Seventy color plates of [O’Keeffe’s] works from that period—flowers, fruits, landscapes, trees, and leaves—are featured.

— Boston Sunday Globe

O’Keeffe’s distillation of forms from that time …created a visual language both extremely sensual and intensely private, even though her work was meant for public display.

— THE Magazine

This luscious book is a revelation.

— The Boston Sunday Globe


Erin B. Coe


Erin B. Coe is Chief Curator at the Hyde Collection.

Bruce Robertson


Bruce Robertson is Professor of Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Gwendolyn Owens


Gwendolyn Owens is Liaison Officer in the Office of the Provost at McGill University and a curator and critic who writes on North American art and architecture.