O'Keeffe always protested, to the end of her life, the more prurient interpretations of her large flower designs. Ever the pragmatist and formalis, she had this to say about big paintings:
nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small - we haven't time - and to see takes time... So I said to myself - I'll paint what I see - what the flower is to me but I'll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it - I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.
O'Keeffe also made people take time to 'see' leaves and shells in her bing painting of those subjects. The Broken Shell, Pink, painted ten years after her large floral compositions, continues her exploration of the aesthetic possibilities in rendering a single organic form as a dynamic whirl of flowing curves and counter-curves.