4 Things To Look For To See Your Georgia O’keeffe Is An Original

In 1993, Kansas City banker Crosby Kemper Jr. paid $5 million for 28 Georgia O’Keeffe water color paintings and had them displayed at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Nearly six years later – after loaning the collection out to countless other museums – it was found that the paintings were actually fakes. Determining a fraudulent piece from the real thing is obviously no easy feat, so if you think that you might own an authentic O’Keeffe, there are some important steps that you’ll want to take.

Georgia O'Keeffe water color paintings

Check for a Signature

Does your painting have Ms. O’Keeffe’s name scrawled across the bottom corner or somewhere else on the painting? If so, this is a dead give way that you don’t have the real thing. While many authenticators use signatures as a way to determine if a painting is an original, the absence of a signature is what they’ll look for when evaluating a Georgia O’Keeffe painting. She never signed her works because she thought that they would be recognized by her painting style and subject matter.

Do Your Homework

Georgia O’Keeffe is most well-known for her paintings of flowers, but just because that’s not what is depicted in your painting doesn’t mean you don’t have an original. In fact, flowers only made up a small percentage of Ms. O’Keeffe’s 2,000+ paintings, as she also frequently painted landscapes, bones, shells, and scenes from the American Southwest. For this reason, if you suspect that you might have an original O’Keeffe piece, you should be sure to do your homework, and there are several places you can visit online to view samples of her work:

  • The Georgia O’Keefe Museum
  • GeorgiaOKeeffe.net
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • National Gallery of Art

Examine the Brush Strokes

Oil paint was Ms. O’Keeffe’s medium of choice, so taking a close look at the brush strokes on a painting may be able to give you an idea if you possess an authentic work. She painted directly onto the canvas and used single, precise gestures for each stroke. She sometimes even squeezed paint directly onto the paint in order to allow her artwork to evolve more organically. A professional authenticator can help by examining these details to determine whether the work looks as if it represents Ms. O’Keeffe’s style.

Meet with an Art Dealer

Having your artwork examined by a reputable and trustworthy art dealer is another important step in determining the authenticity of your piece. Art experts – specifically those who have studied the work of Georgia O’Keeffe extensively – will be a great resource in deciding whether you have the real thing.

If there is a possibility that you might have an authentic Georgia O’Keeffe, you could be in possession of an extremely valuable piece of art. By using these steps, you can find out for sure if you have an original.

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