Sky Above Clouds IV, 1965
The Art Institute of Chicago, Restricted gift of the Paul and Gabriella Rosenbaum Foundation; gift of Georgia O'Keeffe
Painted when Georgia O’Keeffe was 77 years old, this monumental work culminates a series based on the artist’s experiences as an airplane passenger during the 1950s. Working in Abiquiu, New Mexico, O’Keeffe began around 1963 to capture the endless expanses of clouds she had observed from airplane windows. Starting with relatively realistic depictions of white clouds on smaller canvases, she progressed to more stylized images of the motif on larger surfaces, ultimately extending her idea to a canvas that spanned the entire 24-foot width of her garage. Given its scale and the predominance of rounded shapes in the composition, this work has often been compared to Claude Monet’s famous water-lily murals.