Sotheby’s Record-Breaking Sale of One of the Most Iconic Works by Georgia O’Keeffe
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed, White Flower No. 1, from the collection of Bunny Mellon sold for $44.4 million at Sotheby’s in November, 2014, making it the highest price for a painting by a woman ever to sell at auction.
One of the most iconic works by Georgia O’Keeffe ever to appear at auction, was the centerpiece of its American Art sale in New York.
Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 is one of the most well-known examples of O’Keeffe’s celebrated flower paintings, which stand among the most recognizable images in both art history and popular culture.
The painting is one of three works by the American artist that were offered from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in order to benefit its Acquisitions Fund.
About Jimson Weed/White Flower #1
O’Keeffe first saw Jimson weed growing in northern New Mexico – a setting that would come to define much of her career – and painted the present work in 1932. O’Keeffe was immensely fond of jimson weed, ignoring its seeds’ toxicity and allowing it to flourish around her patio,
Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 was on view in Los Angeles and Hong Kong, before returning to New York for exhibition in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries. The work went to auction with an estimate of $10-15 million, well in excess of the artist’s auction record.
At a significant 48 by 40 inches, Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 is one of the rare instances early in her career that O’Keeffe chose a canvas size noticeably larger than her usual format. The same year, the artist had started plans for a mural construction for Radio City Music Hall, which was then under construction in Rockefeller Center. This may have led her to experiment with a larger format in her paintings.
On The Old Santa Fee Road Also In Auction
Also on offer from the Museum’s collection and sold to benefit the Acquisitions Fund was On the Old Santa Fe Road, estimated at $2/3 million, and Untitled (Skunk Cabbage), estimated at $500-750,000.
“This deaccession is part of the maturation of the Georgia O’Keeffe institution and aligns with our future collecting strategy, coupled with planned giving and donations,” said Rob Kret, Director of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
Income Will Benefit O’Keeffe Museum
Kret also stated, “This has been a thoughtful process that has unfolded over the course of more than a year, and the deaccession is fully supported by the donor of the three works and was unanimously approved by the Georgia O’Keeffe board of directors. All of the income from this sale will be used for future acquisitions to support the growth of our dynamic, vibrant O’Keeffe collection.”
About The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
To inspire all current and future generations, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum preserves, presents and advances the artistic legacy of Georgia O’Keeffe and modernism through innovative public engagement, education, and research. Opened in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1997, the Museum counts O’Keeffe’s two New Mexico homes as part of its extended collection. The Museum’s collections, exhibitions, research center, publications and educational programs contribute to scholarly discourse and serve a diverse audience.
For more information please visit www.okeeffemuseum.org.