From her paintings, it is safe to say that Georgia O'Keeffe was fascinated by the world around her. She created impressionistic images that challenged perceptions. One of her most critically acclaimed paintings is the Shell II.

Description of Georgia O'Keeffe's Shell II

Georgia O'Keeffe created the Shell II painting in 1928 using the oil on board technique. She used a 9.25 by 7.25-inch board. This is one of the few paintings she did not develop on canvas. The painting is currently located at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum's Gift of Burnett Foundation in Santa Fe, United States of America. The museum also hosts other masterpieces by O'Keeffe.

The painting features an image of a white clamshell painted on a dark background. The small shell appears to be enlarged in this painting. The aim of the enlargement is believed to help viewers notice the object. Georgia believed that people are often so overwhelmed by the fast pace of life that they forget to look at the world's natural beauties. Therefore, she painted enlarged images to allow people to notice the beauty they have missing out on.

The painting only features the exterior part of the clamshell. It also features green lines running over the white clamshell. The green lines represent seaweeds. The clamshell is nested in a bed of grey and feathery red kelp. Compared to other paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe, this one does not contain bright colors. The cold colors used in this painting aim to portray the nature of the environment where the shell is located. Note that Georgia likes to paint real things in nature. Therefore, she showcased the clamshell in its natural glory. Even the white used to paint the clamshell is not too bright. It almost appears like an off-white. The top left of the painting features some red color. The red and hint of green used on the lines are the only slightly bright colors on this piece.


Most, if not all of the paintings made by Georgia O'Keeffe were inspired by nature. She was very passionate about nature, and she wanted to create pieces that would open people's eyes to the things in their environment. She visited New Mexico frequently, and she drew a lot of inspiration from the country's surroundings.

Similar works

As the name suggests (Shell II), this is the second shell painting made by Georgia. The clamshell was featured in other pieces.