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Georgia OKeeffe was born on November 15 1887 the second of seven children and grew up on a farm in Sun Prairie Wisconsin As a child she received art lessons at home and her abilities were quickly recognized and encouraged by teachers throughout her school years By the time she graduated from high school in 1905 OKeeffe had determined to make her way as an artist OKeeffe pursued studies at the Art Institute of Chicago 19051906 and at the Art Students League New York 19071908 where she was quick to master the principles of the approach to art-making that then formed the basis of the curriculumimitative realism In 1908 she won the Leagues William Merritt Chase still-life prize for her oil painting Untitled Dead Rabbit with Copper Pot Shortly thereafter however OKeeffe quit making art saying later that she had known then that she could never achieve distinction working within this tradition Her interest in art was rekindled four years later when she took a summer course for art teachers at the University of Virginia Charlottesville taught by Alon Bement of Teachers College Columbia University Bement introduced OKeeffe to the then revolutionary ideas of his colleague at Teachers College artist and art educator Arthur Wesley Dow Dow believed that the goal of art was the expression of the artists personal ideas and feelings and that such subject matter was best realized through harmonious arrangements of line color and notan the Japanese system of lights and darks Dows ideas offered OKeeffe an alternative to imitative realism and she experimented with them for two years while she was either teaching art in the Amarillo Texas public schools or working summers in Virginia as Bements assistant OKeeffe was in New York again from fall 1914 to June 1915 taking courses at Teachers College By the fall of 1915 when she was teaching art at Columbia College Columbia South Carolina she
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