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Georgia O' Keeffe, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

Georgia O' Keeffe, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

Georgia O' Keeffe, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

Arnold Newman
United States, born 1918
Georgia O' Keeffe, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico
Dye-transfer print, 1968
Collection Museum of Photographic Arts
Gift of Arnold Newman
© Arnold Newman© Museum of Photographic Arts

Born in New York City, Arnold Newman is one of the most celebrated portraitists of the twentieth century. Influenced by many different artistic styles, Newman seeks to convey information about the sitter by selecting pose and props to surround his subjects. The result is the often-contrasting ideas of obvious elements in the photograph versus the more analytical where one has to look more deeply into the meaning.

Among the many subjects Newman photographed is the painter Georgia O’Keeffe, who is most well known for her colorful and textural paintings of life in a desert. In Georgia O’Keeffe, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, Newman depicts the painter through her style in art. In this photograph, we can see the stark simplicity and rich texture of her desert paintings by Newman’s showing of O’Keefe’s classical profile standing in front of a blank white canvas in the middle of a desert. The blank white canvas is an allusion to O’Keefe being a painter while the desert background is a reference to the subject matter she paints. Newman makes a third reference to O’Keefe’s artwork and style by having a ram skull hanging over the canvas to remind the viewer of the skull paintings she is famous for.

Discussion Questions

(For Grades 4-6)

Arnold Newman likes to do portraits of people that reveal things about them. If he were to do a portrait of you, what might it look like? Where would you be? What would you be doing? What objects would you include in your portrait?

The image is a portrait of the painter, Georgia O’Keefe, who is most well known for her colorful paintings of life in a desert. What do you see in the photograph that shows who she is and what she paints?


This list of resources is available for use at the Dubois Library at the Museum of Photographic Arts. The Library is open by appointment to MOPA Members, educators and researchers, and its collections are available for on-site use only. Contact the Library at 619-238-7559x216 or library@mopa.org.

Newman, Arnold. 1978. Faces USA. Garden City, N.Y.: American Photographic Book Pub. 

Newman, Arnold. 1986. Arnold Newman, five decades. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Danziger, James, and Barnaby Conrad. 1977. Interviews with master photographers: Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston. New York: Paddington Press : distributed by Grosset & Dunlap.


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