Variations on America: Masterworks from American Art Forum Collections

April 12, 2007 — July 28, 2007

Smithsonian American Art Museum (8th and G Streets, NW)
A painting of a white flower with two red lines down the middle.

Red Lines, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1923, oil on canvas, 25 x 20 in., © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

O'Keeffe repeatedly claimed to be “painting herself.” Her oils, pastels, and watercolors are, in a sense, self-portraits that express her emotional responses to places she encountered and people she met. In Red Lines, tendrils of blue and green envelop passionate red verticals that are separated only by a thin seam of color. The verticals, which suggest two separate but linked bodies and minds, may well allude to her evolving relationship with Alfred Stieglitz, the avant-garde gallery owner who introduced Picasso’s work to New York. Stieglitz showed this canvas in March 1924. The following December, O’Keeffe and Stieglitz were married.

"Variations on America: Masterworks from American Art Forum Collections" celebrates the vision and passion of private collectors who are formally affiliated with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibition presents 72 major artworks, several of which are rarely on public display, from 26 distinguished private collections by some of America's most talented and cherished artists, including John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper and Georgia O'Keeffe. Chief curator Eleanor Harvey and deputy chief curator George Gurney are the curators of the exhibition.

Exhibition Catalogue

Variations on America: Masterworks from American Art Forum Collections

The accompanying catalogue includes an essay by Eleanor Harvey, chief curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and features approximately 75 images with annotated entries based on new research. The book is co-published with D. Giles Limited. The book is available for purchase online.


"Variations on America" is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.