Georgia OKeefe is considered one of the most important American artists in the 20th century, enjoying a prolific career spanning over nine decades. After spending her early years in Wisconsin she began formal training in Chicago and New York from 1905 to 1908 where, despite showing promise and earning acclaim, she decided against pursuing a career. In 1912 she reneged on this decision after being persuaded by a teacher than the purpose of art was expressionism and not realism. By the 1920s OKeefe had established herself through a collection of paintings depicting skyscrapers and large scale floral close ups. Eventually moving to New Mexico, after her husband and collaborator Alfred Steiglitz died in 1945, the area became her inspiration and is now synonymous with her work. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and continued to work up until as late as 1984 before eventually dying two years later at the age of 98.