O’Keeffe and Adams exhibit set to open - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

O’Keeffe and Adams exhibit set to open

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Theresa Papanikolas Theresa Papanikolas
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams are two of America's most well known artists of the 20th century.  O'Keeffe's radiant oil paintings are a stark contrast to the black and white photographs that are Adams' trademark.

While their styles are opposites, they share something similar: both have a unique connection to Hawaii.  Beginning Thursday at the Honolulu Museum of Art, their Hawaii works will be on display in an exhibition entitled "Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawaii Pictures".

O'Keeffe was brought to Hawaii by an advertising firm in 1939.

"They were doing an ad campaign where they were inviting modern artists to do pictures they could use in print advertisements, and O'Keeffe was one of the artists" said Museum Curator of European and American Art, Theresa Papanikolas.

O'Keeffe fulfilled her obligation, and wound up staying in Hawaii for over two months, enamored by her surroundings.

"She loved the spectacular beauty.  It was unlike anything she had seen before" added Papanikolas, who knows both artists intimately.  She researched them for her exhibition for two years.

Adams had a different initial experience in Hawaii.

"The lava stone was not the granite cliffs he was used to, his tripod kept blowing over because of the tradewinds, so he was just, very frustrated".

That was in 1948, when Adams came over on a Guggenheim fellowship.  He returned in 1957 and 1958, finally finding comfort in his surroundings.

"If you look at a lot of the photographs in this room, they're very classic Ansel Adams, they've got the big clouds, the wide vistas, they stand as evidence that he did hit his stride" noted Papanikolas.   

Adams also photographed many portraits, which are on display at the museum.  Many are of well known people of the time, but others are anonymous.  The museum is encouraging people who may recognize some of the subjects to share their stories.  To do so, email communications@honolulumuseum.org.

The exhibition runs from Thursday, July 18, through January 12, 2014. 

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