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Georgia OKeeffe was born on November 15 1887 in Sun Prairie Wisconsin to a farming family the second of seven siblings Her childhood farm life in the Midwest greatly influenced her art and her later life she would never be as comfortable living in cities When OKeeffe was sixteen the family moved to Williamsburg Virginia where she took art classes for the first time and was recognized as a talented student Two years later she studied art at the school of the Art Institute in Chicago In 1907 she attended the Art Students League in New York OKeeffe was forced to become a commercial artist for two years to help support her family Eventually they all moved to Charlottesville Virginia where she attended the summer art classes at the University of Alon Bement a visiting professor from New Yorks Columbia University In the fall of 1915 OKeeffe taught art at a teachers college in Columbia South Carolina In her free time she experimented with charcoal and drew abstract shapes struggling to find her own style These early works represented her dreams and visions She mailed them to her Columbia classmate and good friend Anita Pollitzer who showed the works to Alfred Stieglitz a professional photographer He was impressed later exhibiting them at his gallery without OKeeffes knowledge or permission Embarrassed she demanded that he end the exhibition to no avail The public was shocked by what it perceived as the frank sexuality of her shapes throughout her life she denied the Freudian symbolism that others saw in her art In 1916 OKeeffe started using oils in vibrant colors and also experimented with watercolors OKeeffe had her first solo exhibition of charcoals oils and watercolors in 1917 Stieglitz inspired by the strength and beauty of OKeeffes face and body photographed her nude In 1921 many of these photos were first exhibited in New York at his gallery and caused quite a sensation In 1924 he and
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