Critical round-up: Georgia O'Keeffe - Hayward Gallery

Monday 10 May 1993 23:02

'When we come to examine these paintings as painting, they reveal themselves as poor, thin stuff indeed . . . Clearly she believed in her own myth . . . The hard truth is that she was a weak draughtsman and at best an indifferent painter.' William Packer, Financial Times

'The paint is applied without the slightest feel for the medium. Once she had the image and colours in her head, the rest was a question of paint by numbers . . . Though her ego was gigantic, her visual aesthetic is curiously self-effacing . . . But that does not mean she is an artist to ignore. In small doses . . she's a joy.' Richard Dorment, Daily Telegraph

'Increasingly big claims have been made for O'Keeffe . . . The Hayward show proves her to have been one of the most significant American artists from between the wars, but in international terms she still only counts as a minor master . . . She is a surprisingly inept painter.' James Hall, Guardian

'The trouble with most of these floral ecstasies lies in their fulsomeness . . . O'Keeffe wallows in sickly, lurid colours bordering on kitsch. Over-heated and under-disciplined, these cloying works become repellent when seen in quantity.' Richard Cork, Times

'Georgia O'Keeffe must have had an amazing gift for self- publicisation . . . the most famous female American artist of the 20th century was, quite simply, not very good . . . The lesson of this show, if it has one, is that paintings can be venerated out of all proportion to their true quality for only so long.' Andrew Graham-Dixon, Independent

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