Georgia O'Keeffe. Cottonwood and Pedernal, 1948. Oil on canvas, 10 x 12 inches. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Gift of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation. © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. [2006.05.205]
A cottonwood tree thick with yellow leaves fills the foreground. The top of Pedernal, visible in the distance, peeks out above the trees.
O’Keeffe depicted the flat-topped mountain, Cerro Pedernal, in countless paintings and drawings throughout her life. This narrow mesa in northern New Mexico is a sacred site and has been significant for Indigenous and Hispano communities for centuries. In this striking rendition of the subject, Cerro Pedernal itself is the backdrop for a lush, spring-green cottonwood. Here, O’Keeffe has dramatically cropped both tree and mountain, allowing the top of the branches and the soft new leaves to serve as a natural frame for the mountain she loved so dearly.
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