Georgia O'Keeffe. Dead Piñon Tree, 1943. Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Gift of The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation. © Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. [2006.05.180]
A large, dead piñon tree fills much of the canvas. Its barren branches droop down towards the ground. The tree stands in front of a landscape with green trees and rolling hills in the distance and a sky filled with wispy clouds above.
During her summers in New Mexico, O’Keeffe maintained a near-daily correspondence with her husband, Alfred Stieglitz. Many of these letters were simple and succinct—briefly describing daily activities, the weather, and, particularly for O’Keeffe, visual touchstones from the surrounding natural world that so captivated her. O’Keeffe wrote of this particular piñon, “I was out painting late afternoon – A soft, many branched dead tree against a two-pointed red hill – I have been at it for some time – and so far it pleases me.”
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