Cow's Skull: Red, White and Blue1931 by Georgia O'Keeffe

O’Keeffe isolates a single skull, highlighting its jagged edges, worn surfaces, and bleached color. To her, such bones represented the desert’s enduring beauty and the strength of the American spirit, which is alluded to in the striped background. (

Part of New Mexico's nourishment was the way everything was pared back to essentials, the flab cut away. O’Keeffe was getting down to the bones of things, loving the hard, stripped land and the tough, stringent way it forced her to live. Bones were beautiful, with their apertures and cavities, their bleached resilience. She painted them suspended impossibly against the sky, pink and white calico roses tucked coquettishly where ears once were. In 1931 she set a cow skull against draped stripes of red, white and blue.... it was another territory grab, “calculated to provoke and to cast O’Keeffe as an emphatically national artist”.
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Dimensions (h/w/d): 40 36 (101 91)
Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York