It took Georgia O’Keeffe nine days to travel the 5,000 miles between New York’s Grand Central Station and the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Although she was heralded by local newspapers upon her arrival as the “famous painter of flowers,” the impetus for her trip was a different sort of plant life.

O’Keeffe was in Hawaii to paint a pineapple.

At least, that was what Dole (then known as the “Hawaiian Pineapple Company”) hoped she would do. It had approached O’Keeffe in 1938, proposing an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii—after which time the painter would deliver the company two canvases for use in a national advertising campaign. O’Keeffe was to determine the subject of these works herself, a degree of artistic freedom that likely encouraged her to accept Dole’s invitation despite an initial ambivalence.

Although TIME Magazine described O’Keeffe in 1940 as the “least commercial artist in the U.S.,” in reality the American painter had long dabbled in corporate commissions. One of her earliest jobs was as a commercial artist in Chicago, where she drew embroidery and lace designs for fashion advertisements. Later, after she’d achieved some measure of fame, she would contribute to the interior murals at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and paint four jimsonweeds in bloom for a Manhattan beauty salon. .. Leggi di più