Bob's Steer Head Artist: Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887–1986)


American Paintings and Sculpture

On view, 3rd floor, Modern and Contemporary Art and Design

Georgia O’Keeffe adopted the motif of animal skulls, long used by artists of the American West as evocative emblems of death, the passage of time, and the frontier. Created largely in the East at her upstate New York home, O’Keeffe’s "skull series" depicts the specimens she collected during summers in New Mexico. "I have wanted to paint the desert and haven’t known how," she once mused. "So I brought home the bleached bones as my symbol of the desert."


Oil on canvas


30 × 36 in. (76.2 × 91.4 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Arthur Milliken, B.A. 1926

Accession Number



20th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



An American Place, New York, 1936. The Downtown Gallery, New York, about 1936–1937; Arthur Milliken, Simsbury, Conn., 1937–1965; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • American Art: Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2023), 226–27, no. 107, ill.
  • American Art Review XVIII No. 4 (2006): 135, no. No. 4, ill.
  • Barbara Buhler Lynes, Georgia O'Keeffe: catalogue raisonne´ (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1999), 549, no. 882.
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

animal art

Technical metadata and APIs


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