Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities

September 25, 2008 — January 4, 2009

Smithsonian American Art Museum (8th and G Streets, NW)
This is a landscape panting of mountains in New Mexico.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Marie’s II, 1930, oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 36 1/4 in., Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, gift of The Burnett Foundation © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Sunlight deserts, Taos churches, and Western skies are captured in the remarkable work of two iconic American artists. Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities examines the friendship of two artists who were attracted to the distinct landscape of the American southwest and were committed to depicting its essence with modernist sensibilities. This exhibition, the first to pair these artists, celebrates their mutual appreciation of the natural world and reveals the visual connections between O'Keeffe's paintings and Adams' photographs. The exhibition includes forty-two paintings from public and private collections and fifty-four photographs borrowed primarily from the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, which holds the largest single collection of Adams' work. Independent scholar Anne Hammond selected the artworks for the exhibition. Eleanor Harvey, chief curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is the coordinating curator with Toby Jurovics, the museum's curator of photography.


The accompanying catalogue features essays by Barbara Buhler Lynes, curator at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the Emily Fisher Landau Director of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center, critic Richard B. Woodward, and Sandra Phillips, senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities was organized by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. The exhibition was made possible in part by MetLife Foundation, the exhibition's Lead National Sponsor, The Burnett Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, The Kerr Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation, and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum's National Council.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum wishes to thank The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Robert S. & Grayce B. Kerr Foundation, The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, and the Smithsonian Council for American Art for their generous support of the exhibition's presentation in Washington, D.C.