Georgia O’Keeffe: Place, Nature, Art

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015▪  7:00 P.M.


The California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks (CMATO) opens its fall Speaker Series with Dr. Bruce Robertson presenting an illustrated talk on “Georgia O’Keefe: Place, Nature, Art”.  Dr. Robertson is a professor and Director of the Museum of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue, “Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction” published by the Whitney Museum of American Art and was part of the curatorial team for the 2009-2010 exhibit at the Whitney.  Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) was one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century and one of the first American abstract artists, but her representational art has received most of the attention from critics.  Dr. Robertson will provide an insight into the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe and how the natural environment provided her with profound inspiration.  

“O’Keeffe has almost never been out of the public eye since the early 1920s, when (photographer) Alfred Stieglitz first started promoting her. For decades she was one of America’s most famous living artists, and then, in the 1960s she had a second-burst of fame when she was taken up by feminist art historians. She’s one of America’s first modern artists, both in her art and her lifestyle–living in Manhattan’s first high-rise efficiency apartment building. Then she went to the Southwest. Her view of New Mexico is indelible; it’s everywhere–from the colors she saw in the landscape, the dried skulls she found, her simple clothes–we now see those same elements everywhere you look when you go to Santa Fe.  Do you remember Santa Fe style a few years back, when it was so hot? That was pure O’Keeffe,” said Dr. Robertson.

Dr. Robertson previously was the Chief Curator of the Center for the Art of the Americas and Deputy Director of Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).  At LACMA he started the Latino and Latin American Art Initiative, and acquired Thomas Eakins’ The Wrestlers (Eakins’ last sporting painting), as well as works by Yun Gee, Helen Lundeberg, Abbott Thayer and William Rimmer. He is a specialist in American and British art, and the history of museums.  He has authored books and organized exhibitions on artists such as Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent and Marsden Hartley. A native from New Zealand, Dr. Robertson received his B.A. from Swarthmore College and his PhD  from Yale University.   

Admission to this program is free to California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks members with a $5 suggested donation for non-members.

The second fall CMATO Speaker Series presentation is on Tuesday,  October 27, 2015, featuring Kevin Wallace, Director of Beatrice Woods Center for the Arts on “Speaking with Trees: Contemporary Wood Art.”

For additional information about the CMATO Speaker Series, contact Bill Mercer, Director of Operations,  at (805) 405-5240 or

The California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks is a non-profit organization committed to serving diverse audiences through the exhibition, interpretation, and exploration of the fine and design arts. CMATO is committed to educating the community about the visual arts and dedicated to establishing a premier art museum that will serve Ventura County and surrounding communities.  

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