Georgia O'Keeffe

Music, Pink and Blue No. 2
1918

Not on view

Date
1918

Classification
Paintings

Medium
Oil on canvas

Dimensions
Overall: 35 × 29 15/16in. (88.9 × 76 cm)

Accession number
91.90

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Emily Fisher Landau in honor of Tom Armstrong

Rights and reproductions
© Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

API
artworks/7759

For many vanguard artists in the early twentieth century, music offered a model for expressing nonverbal emotional states and sensations. Georgia O'Keeffe was fascinated with what she called "the idea that music could be translated into something for the eye," but her references to music in the titles of her paintings derived equally from her belief that visual art, like music, could convey powerful emotions independent of representational subject matter. In Music—Pink and Blue II, the swelling, undulating forms imply a connection between the visual and the aural, while also suggesting the rhythms and harmonies that O’Keeffe perceived in nature.

Visual Description

Georgia O’Keeffe’sMusic, Pink and Blue No. 2(1918) is an oil painting on canvas. It measures 35 inches in height and 29 15/16 inches in width. It measures 88.9 centimeters in height and 76 centimeters in width.

This is an abstract painting. The colors are pale and light with an emphasis on pinks and blues. Emerging from the bottom of the painting, near the right corner, vertically slanting to our left is a blue tongue shape. Softly curved, swaying to our left, the color of aqua tinted water—this shape can be seen as a hole or a void. It is surrounded by an outer ribbon of white space that is tinged with tones of mint green and pale pink. The way this outer shape folds over the blue area intensifies the sense that we are gazing into the opening of an interior space. The curved white outer area is rimmed with a thin edge of pink and red—the colors bear a relationship to blood and flesh. Beyond this area are petal forms of pale violet outlined in red. These petals rest upon each other and morph into soft hills on our left. Behind these lavender petals is a crack between folds of pink and peach that rise to the top of the painting—a little left of center. Surrounding these folds and the soft fluttering petals that surround the white ribbon that homes the blue void from which we started this description is a background of light blue that turns to a pink violet in some areas and into light ripples in the upper right corner. O’Keeffe uses thin translucent washes of oil paint to create her seductive abstraction.