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Georgia was born in Wisconsin, raised in Virginia and schooled in Chicago and New York, but she is generally associated with the American southwest and particularly New Mexico. She was one of the most celebrated women artists of the 20th century, known especially for her desert-inspired images. Some of these were sensual and colorful paintings of flowers or hills, such as Cottonwood III (1944). Others were austere images of weathered bones, such as Cows Skull With Calico Roses (1931). She married photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz in 1924, and he was an ardent promoter of her work until his death in 1946. A few years later she moved to New Mexico for good.

Okeeffe has been a major figure in American art since the 1920s. She is chiefly known for oil paintings in which she synthesizes abstraction and representation in paintings of flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones and landscapes. Her oil paintings present crisply contoured forms that are replete with subtle tonal transitions of varying colors, and she often transformed her subject matter into powerful abstract images.

She is famous for her sensual flower paintings. Her reputation is based on the graphic depiction of genitalia among the details and silhouettes of her flowers. Although she declined to acknowledge in public that this is what she was doing, it's unmistakable. The calla lily presents a unique opportunity to display this aspect of her work since the flower visually exhibits some characteristics similar to both male and female sex organs.