Crosscurrents: Modern Art from the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Collection

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Hibiscus with Plumeria
Georgia O’Keeffe
oil on canvas
40 x 30 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Partial and promised gift of Sam Rose and Julie Walters.
© 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
In 1939, Dole Pineapple Company invited O’Keeffe to Hawaii to do paintings for an advertising campaign. She visited Maui, Oahu, Hawaii, and Kauai, painting the islands’ dramatic gorges, waterfalls, and tropical flowers, among them Hibiscus with Plumeria. Pink and yellow petals towering against a clear blue sky transform the delicate blossoms into a joyous monumentality. But of the twenty canvases of Hawaii she completed, none showed a pineapple. Only after Dole had one flown to New York did she finally, if reluctantly, paint the desired fruit.