Friday, March 1, 2013

Radiator Building by Georgia O'Keefe

        Constructed in 1924, the Radiator Building on 40th Street, South of Bryant Park in New York City, is a bit of an anomaly on the cityscape. It is made mostly of black brick with gold-trimmed turrets reminiscent of Gothic architecture. Georgia O'Keeffe moved to New York City in 1918, and painted the Radiator Building in 1927.
The Radiator Building at Night- New York
Georgia O'Keeffe, Radiator Building- Night, New York (1927), oil on canvas, 48" x 30"
        Towering above the viewer's eyesight, the Radiator Building extends almost to the top of the work, illuminated in silhouette by its own lights and several spotlights that shoot into the black sky, giving it a slight red hue. Most of O'Keeffe's paintings of New York City feature various skyscrapers of the city of the time, such as the Ritz Tower.

       Before travelling to New York, O'Keeffe had worked as a commercial and teaching assistant, even spending some time at the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. She moved to New York shortly after Alfred Stieglitz showed some of her works in his art show "291," which also showed the famous (or infamous?) Fountain by Marcel Duchamp. O'Keeffe's arrival in New York City coincided with the "Roaring Twenties," a bustling decade in American history that saw the growth of cities like New York as a result of Henry Ford's Model T, Al Capone and his battle with Prohibition, and began with the end of World War I. It was during this time that O'Keeffe married Stieglitz in 1924, and remained together until Stieglitz's death in 1946.
       After Stieglitz's death, O'Keeffe moved to New Mexico and stayed there until her death in 1986. There, she moved away from scenes of the city and instead painted scenes of the desert landscape, including works like Sky Above Clouds.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Sky Above Clouds IV (1956), oil on canvas, 96" x 288".

For a list of New York's major skyscrapers, visit:

For a biography on O'Keeffe's life, visit:
       as well as,

For more in-depth information on the Roaring Twenties, visit:

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