Dark Tree Trunks
On View: Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Gallery, 4th Floor
The V-form is a recurring motif in O’Keeffe’s art and in her wardrobe. In this painting, she has pushed the composition in the direction of abstraction by cropping the tree forms abruptly at the canvas’s edge, bringing focus to the V formed by the converging tree trunks. This V, painted in New Mexico a few months after Stieglitz’s death, may also be endowed with personal meaning. The two sets of bare tree trunks, rooted to each other in the ground but grown apart, may be a subtle reference to her partnership with Stieglitz, frayed by the end of his life because of his attentions to another woman.
This painting can be seen hanging in O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch studio in the 1948 short film by Henwar Rodakiewicz, Land of Enchantment: Southwest U.S.A, on view nearby.
Oil on canvas
40 x 30in. (101.6 x 76.2cm)
frame: 40 1/4 x 30 1/4 x 1 1/2 in. (102.2 x 76.8 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
Inscriptions on backing:
1. "Dark Tree Trunks 1950 [crossed out] 1946 (crossing out and '1946' inscribed by Doris Bry, black ink) / Oil/ 40 x 30 / Canvas / Baker 5837" (OKR, black ink)
2. "Dark Tree Trunks. / 1946 1950 [crossed out], 40 x 30 / Georgia O'Keeffe" (inscribed by Doris Bry, black ink)
3. "Spray Keck" (inscribed by Doris Bry, graphite)
Bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe
copyright transferred to Brooklyn Museum, 2006
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Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986). Dark Tree Trunks, 1946. Oil on canvas, 40 x 30in. (101.6 x 76.2cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe, 87.136.1. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 87.136.1_SL1.jpg)
overall, 87.136.1_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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