Object Image

Cow's Skull with Calico Roses

In 1930 Georgia O’Keeffe witnessed a drought in the Southwest that resulted in the starvation of many animals, whose skeletons littered the landscape. She was fascinated by these bones and shipped a number of them back to New York City. She later wrote, “To me they are as beautiful as anything I know. To me they are strangely more living than the animals walking around.... The bones seem to cut more sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive on the desert even tho’ it is vast and empty and untouchable—and knows no kindness with all its beauty.” The bones provided her with interesting shapes and textures, and she painted them frequently, intrigued as much by their symbolism as by th ...
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Oil on canvas
91.4 x 61.0cm
Image © The Art Institute of Chicago, 2019

Text courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago, 2019

Where you'll find this

Art Institute of Chicago
Permanent collection