New York Street with Moon

Georgia O’Keeffe

Calle de Nueva York con luna

O'Keeffe, Georgia

Sun Prairie, 1887 - Santa Fe, 1986

New York Street with Moon, 1925

© Georgia O´Keeffe Museum, VEGAP, 2015

Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Oil on canvas

122 x 77 cm

CTB.1981.76

Artwork history

  • The Intimate Gallery, New York.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Meyer, New York, 1926.

  • Retained by descendants in the family.

  • Arcadia Inc., Washington (DC).

  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 1981.

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid.

1926

Georgia O'Keeffe, Fifty Recent Paintings, Nueva York, The Intimate Gallery.

1960

Georgia O'Keeffe: Forty Years of Her Art, Worcester (MA), Worcester Art Museum, nº 5.

1982 - 1984

20th Century Masters: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Washington (DC), National Gallery of Art; Hartford (CT), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Toledo (OH), Toledo Museum of Art; Seattle (WA), Seattle Art Museum; San Francisco (CA), San Francisco Museum of Art; New York (NY), The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Phoenix (AZ), Phoenix Art Museum, not in catalogue (Exhibited only in New York and Phoenix).

1984

Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art; Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art, nº 91, p. 158, illus. p. 107.

1984

Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, London, Royal Academy of Arts, nº 91.

1985

Maestri dell'arte moderna nella Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza, Florence, Palazzo Pitti, nº 91, p. 175, illus. p. 109.

1985

Moderne Malerei aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza, Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum; Dusseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, nº 91, p. 177, illus. p. 109.

1985 - 1986

Maîtres Modernes de la Collection Thyssen-Bornemisza, Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, nº 91, p. 183, illus. p. 117.

1986

Maestros modernos de la Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Salas Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Biblioteca Nacional, Ministerio de Cultura; Barcelona, Palau de la Virreina, nº 89, p. 187, illus. p. 111.

1993

American Art in the 20th Century: Painting and Sculpture 1913-1993, Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau; London, Royal Academy of Arts, nº 38.

1998

García Lorca y su tiempo, Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía; Barcelona, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona.

1999

El museo imaginario de Dis Berlin, Valencia, Bancaixa, p. 149.

2000 - 2001

Views of the City, Santa Fe (NM), Georgia O´Keeffe Museum.

2001

O'Keeffe's O'Keeffes. The Artist Collection, Santa Fe (NM), Georgia O´Keeffe Museum, fig. 13, p. 55.

2003 - 2004

Georgia O'Keeffe, Zurich, Kunsthaus Zürich, nº 19, p. 81.

2005 - 2006

Mímesis. Realismos modernos 1918-1945, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, nº 84, pp. 194, 267, illus. p. 195.

2007 - 2008

Art in the USA: 300 años de innovación, Bilbao, Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, illus. p. 155.

2009

Dove/O'Keeffe: Circles of influence, Williamstown (MA), Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, illus. 16.

2011 - 2012

Georgia O'Keeffe, Roma, Palazzo Cipolla; Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung; Helsinki, Helsinki Art museum, nº 24, p. 159, illus. p. 78.

2012

The Modernist City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

2012 - 2013

La ville magique, Lille, Musée d'art moderne d'art contemporain et d'art brut (LAM), 43, illus. p. 57.

2015

Barcelona, Paris, New York. D´Urgell a O´Keeffe.Col. lecció Carmen Thyssen. 11 July-18 October 2015. Espai Carmen Thyssen. Sant Feliu de Guixols. p. 142.

2016

Georgia O´Keeffe. Tate Modern, London. Fig. 71, pp. 76.

2016

Georgia O´Keeffe et ses amis photographes. Musée de Grenoble, Francia, Cat. 33, p 115.

  • -O’Keeffe, Georgia: Georgia O’Keeffe. New York, Viking Press, 1976, p. 17.

  • -Lieberman, W. S.: 20th Century Masters. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Recent Acquisitions. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983, p. 6, illus.

  • -Young, M. S.: ”Scope and Catholicity: Nineteenth-and Twentieth-Century American Paintings’‘. In Apollo. July, 1983, vol. 118, nº 257 , p. 87, illus.

  • -Murken-Altrogge, C. and Murken, A. H.: ”Prozesse der Freiheit”: vom Expressionismus bis zur soul and body art: moderne Malerei für Einsteiger. Cologne, DuMont, 1985, nº 18, illus.

  • -Levin, Gail: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Twentieth-Century American Painting. London, Sotheby’s Publications, 1987, nº 93, pp. 134-135, illus.

  • -Chave, A. C.: ”Who will Paint New York. The World’s New Art Center and the Skyscraper Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe’‘. In American Art. Winter-Spring, 1991, vol. 5, nº 1-2, p. 97, fig. 1.

  • -The Dictionary of Art. Turner, Jane (ed.). 34 v. London – New York, Grove, 1996, vol. 23, p. 388, illus. [Sheet by Whitaker Peters].

  • -Lynes, Barbara Buhler: Georgia O’Keeffe. Catalogue Raisonné. New Haven, Yale University Press – Washington, National Gallery of Art – Abiquiu, The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 1999 , vol. 1, nº 483, p. 269, illus.

  • -Kemp, M. (ed.): The Oxford History of Western Art. Oxford – New York, 2000, nº 615, illus.

  • -Cabañas Bravo, Miguel: El arte posicionado: pintura y escultura fuera de España desde 1929. Madrid, Espasa Calpe, 2001. Summa Artis, historia general del arte; vol. 48 , p. 19, illus.

  • -Lynes, Barbara Buhler and Bowman, Russell: O’Keeffe’s O’Keeffes: the artist’s collection. [Exhib. Cat. Santa Fe (NM), Georgia O’Keeffe Museum]. New York, Thames & Hudson, 2001 , fig. 13, pp. 54-55 [Sheet by Barbara Buhler Lynes].

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 436, illus. p. 437 [Sheet by Gail Levin].

  • -Llorens, Tomàs: “Mímesis. Realismos modernos”. In Madrid 2005-2006, pp. 49-211, cit. p. 178.

  • -Llorens, Tomàs: Mímesis. Realismos modernos 1918-1945. Bozal, Valeriano. [Exhib. Cat. 2005-2006]. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2005.

  • -Bricker Balken, Debra: “Dove/O’Keeffe: Circles of Influence”. In Williamstown 2009, pp. 1-91, op cit. p. 65.

  • -Dove/O’Keeffe: Circles of influence. Bricker Balken, Debra (ed.). [Exhib. cat.]. Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2009.

  • -Borobia, Mar and Alarcó, Paloma (eds.): Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Obras escogidas. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2011, p. 284, illus. p. 285.

  • -Troyen, Carol: “Un terreno comune: l’incanto del luogo per O’Keeffe e gli artisti del circolo di Stieglitz”. In Rome / Munich / Helsinki 2011-2012, pp. 34-45, nº 24, op. cit. p. 39.

  • -Georgia O’Keeffe. Lynes, Barbara Buhler (dir.). [Exhib. Cat. Rome, Palazzo Cipolla; Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung; Helsinki, Helsinki Art Museum]. Geneva-Milan, Skira, 2011.

  • -Alarcó, P. and Borobia, M. (eds.): Guía de la colección. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2012, p. 404, illus. p. 405.

  • -Barcelona, Paris, New York. D´Urgell a O´Keeffe.Col. lecció Carmen Thyssen. Espai Carmen Thyssen. Sant Feliu de Guixols, 2015. p. 142. (Exhib. Cat.)

  • -Georgia O´Keeffe. Tate Modern, London, 2016. Fig. 71, pp. 76. (Exhib. Cat.)

  • -Georgia O´Keeffe et ses amis photographes. Musée de Grenoble, France, 2016, Cat. 33, p 115. (Exhib. Cat)

Expert report

Georgia O’Keeffe recalled that when she painted New York Street with Moon in 1925, it was her first painting of the city. She was living in two rooms on the 30th floor of the Shelton on Lexington Avenue. She remembered: “I had never lived up so high before and was so excited that I began talking about trying to paint New York.” This depiction of 47th Street at night was her first New York painting. She noted: “There was a street light in the upper foreground at about the Chatham Hotel.”

O’Keeffe had hoped to show New York Street with Moon in Seven Americans, a show that her husband Alfred Stieglitz organised at the Anderson Galleries in 1925. However, Stieglitz pointed out to her that even men found it difficult to paint New York skyscrapers and refused to allow her to show this picture, preferring instead to exhibit her more feminine, large-scale flower paintings. The next year, in her own show at The Intimate Gallery, she insisted that Stieglitz hang this picture, which sold the first day for $1,200. She gloated: “From then on they let me paint New York.”

The hard edges of O’Keeffe’s city scenes in the 1920s are related to work by her contemporaries who are as Precisionists, including Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, George Ault and Louis Lozowick. This style is also related to the work of contemporary photographers, in particular the work of Stieglitz himself, but also others in their circle, such as Paul Strand. In this optimistic period, the skyscraper usually symbolized modernity and progress.

O’Keeffe once admitted: “One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt.” Her skyscraper paintings, with their sense of crowding, airlessness and oppression, suggest the displaced nature-lover who grew up in the mid-western countryside. O’Keeffe is as always fascinated by the moon and the sun, as befits a girl who grew up under the broad skies of the Wisconsin prairie.

In New York Street with Moon, the round white disk of the moon slips sensuously in and out of the passing clouds. The sky is still blue, but the buildings, cast in shadow are mere silhouettes against it. The street light by the Chatham seems an unearthly presence, its aura almost like a halo. And the red sky of dusk at the base of the painting, setting off the spire of a church steeple creates a Surrealist-like effect, although O’Keeffe was probably unaware of such work by her contemporaries in Paris at this early date. In 1926, the critic Henry McBride labelled her “at times a mystic,” noting: “In her studies of architecture she breaks passages of literalness with items that throw symbolic lights into the composition.”

O’Keeffe continued to explore this theme in subsequent cityscapes such as Shelton Hotel, New York No. 1, 1926; City Night, 1926; The Shelton with Sunspots, 1926;Radiator Building-Night, New York, 1927; and New York Night, 1929. She seems to have preferred the mystery of nocturnal scenes rather than the raking sunlight she loved for flowers and other rural architectural subjects. By 1929, O’Keeffe, having shown that it did not take a man to deal effectively with the structures of the city, turned her focus elsewhere.

Gail Levin