One particular painting is the horse's skull with a pink rose (1931) which some found somewhat a curious piece of art. Curiosity and controversy are not new to Georgia O'Keeffe's artwork with similar paintings of animal's skulls which featured highly in her work such as Deers Skull with Pedernal (1936), From the Faraway, Nearby (1937), Cows Skull with Calico Roses (1932), Cows Skull: Red, White And Blue among others. The Horse's Skull with a Pink Rose was done during O'Keeffe summer visits to New Mexico where she was rather captivated by animal skulls she stumbled upon while exploring the southwestern landscape. The painting is inspired by a series of events at Georgia O'Keeffe's house in Lake George where she had brought this particular skull home and laid in on the kitchen table.
As she looked over an assortment calico of flowers, there was a knock on the door and she immediately placed the rose flower where it was convenient then, in the horse's eye and rushed to answer the door. When she came back and saw the pink rose flower in the horse's eye, she realised what a good painting this would be. Although little is known about her technique in this magnificent artwork, O'Keeffe's use and composition of fine gradations of colour are hugely depicted. Before experimenting with colours in the 1920s, she had mastered in charcoal pieces which caught the eye of Alfred Stieglitz who a renown photographer in America.
Stieglitz became her mentor and influencer in art and eventually her husband until his death in 1946. Although the horse's skull with pink rose painting illustrated life and death, it was also the period when the world looked to the United States of America as the epitome of modernity. In the same spirit, it is believed that she sets out to the desert to look for that American painting that identifies America as the place of modern beautiful art. The painting is currently kept at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA.