Portrait of O'Keefe by Carl Van Vechten. Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887 - March 6, 1986) was an American artist. She first came to the attention of the New York art community in 1916. She made large-format paintings of enlarged blossoms, presenting them close up as if seen through a magnifying lens, and New York buildings, most of which date from the same decade. Beginning in 1929, when she began working part of the year in Northern New Mexico, which she made her permanent home in 1949, O'Keeffe depicted subjects specific to that area. She has been recognized as the Mother of American Modernism. In 1977, President Gerald Ford presented O'Keeffe with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor awarded to American citizens. In 1985, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. She became increasingly frail in her late 90s. She moved to Santa Fe in 1984, where she died in1986, at the age of 98. In accordance with her wishes, her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered to the wind at the top of Pedernal Mountain, over her beloved "faraway".