Color Inspiration: Starlight Night by Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Starlight Night, 1917”

I found this image on Pinterest last night and was instantly drawn to it. It’s so different from her later work. This image is simple and striking. I love the deep dark hue.

While researching the image, I came across many articles about a counterfeit series of 28 watercolors called the Canyon Suite series that surfaced in 1988. They were originally attributed to Georgia O’Keeffe as having been created between 1916-1918 and were sold at $5 million. The original story of the watercolors was a romantic one, that O’Keeffe had given the watercolors to a friend/partner before he left for service in World War I, and that the works had been wrapped up for over 70 years. The works were inauthenticated in 1999, and the $5 million was refunded. A few years later an artist named Jacobo Suazo was granted the copyright to 16 of the 28 watercolors. His claim is that he and O’Keeffe collaborated on the remaining watercolors while he lived with her as a child.

I thought this story was so fascinating. It took a while to track down all of the articles, and it was like an art history mystery unfolding before my eyes. I also found this interesting article on artists copying artists, which mentions the Canyon Suite series. I believe this work is legitimate because an article in 2006 mentions the work being exhibited at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. It really did reinforce to me that works listed on Pinterest should always be researched before being attributed to an artist!

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