History And Context
Georgia O’Keeffe sought spirituality within her own life as well as her work. She was drawn to places that evoked a sense of mystical wonder and inspired beauty. O’Keeffe spent a great deal of time in New Mexico, traveling there from New York every summer from 1929 until she made the move permanent twenty years later. The barren landscape, craggy rocks, and untouched earth were a source of great inspiration in O’Keeffe’s work, as she found spiritual wonder and meditation in the overwhelming presence of nature.
From the White Place refers to the hills near O’Keeffe’s home in New Mexico. In the painting, she highlights the verticality and grandeur of the mountains—strong, sturdy, and unyielding. Her palette is limited to the earthly colors of the landscape—gray and white stone and green foliage and shadows. Though the setting is identifiable, O’Keeffe gives the painting a certain ambiguity as it is devoid of any human presence and it is difficult to distinguish if this is a panorama or a close-up. Instead her emphasis is completely on nature and the looming hills, which lead our eyes upward toward the sky. The title itself, From the White Place, suggests a place full of awe and majesty in such a resplendent vista.