Georgia O'Keeffe's oil painting Oriental Poppies is a large 30 x 40 inch canvas depicting two flowers which appear to overflow the boundaries of the picture.
Painted in 1928, O'Keeffe's creation shows the bright reds and oranges of the petals contrasting with a deep purple centre. Despite the size of the subject, there is not an abundance of detail.
Instead, by exploring depth of colour and shape the artist presents the flowers almost in abstract form, preferring to show their joy and exuberance rather than minuscule botanical detail.
Other flowers painted by the artist are Jimson Weed, Orchids, Petunias, Red Cannas, White Camellia as well as the Poppy. The original Oriental Poppies painting is held at the University of Minnesota Art Museum.
The artist is well known for her paintings of flowers although out of more than 2000 works of art only about ten per cent are of flowers. Other topics are landscapes, bones, and skyscrapers. However it was her large depictions of flowers which caught the imagination of public and critics alike. In 1925 an exhibition of her magnified flower paintings was held in New York City.
She continued her fascination with these larger than life floral paintings throughout her working life which she explained by saying that if small objects were made larger then more people would notice and enjoy them.
Critics have observed several themes in O'Keeffe's work including the life cycle of birth death and decay, while some claim that the flowers have erotic overtones, an idea dismissed by the artist. A later observation was that she had invented the photographic close-up before the technology itself did so.
Georgia O'Keeffe died in 1986 at the age of 98 having earned her place as a pioneer of Modern American Art.