SANTA FE, N.M. -- A major addition to Santa Fe's culture scene
is the new Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, America's first art museum
dedicated to the work of a woman artist of international stature and
a premier American modernist.
Opened in July, the museum near downtown Santa Fe is in a 13,000-
square-foot adobe building renovated by architect Richard Gluckman.
With more than 80 paintings, watercolors, drawings, pastels and
sculptures, the museum's holdings represent the largest repository of
work by O'Keeffe, held in either public or private hands. Subjects
range from the artist's flowers and bleached desert skulls to nudes,
landscapes, cityscapes and still lives, dating between 1914 and 1982.
A number of the watercolors, circa 1912-14, are similar to those
exhibited at Oklahoma City's City Arts Center in December.
Born in 1887 in Wisconsin, O'Keeffe made her first visit to Santa
Fe in 1917 and lived and worked fulltime in New Mexico from 1949
until her death in 1986. On her first visit to the state as a 30-
year-old, she said, "When I got to New Mexico, that was mine."
However, she lived in several places, including New York City, before
finally making her home at Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu, in the land
that she loved and depicted so dramatically.
Since the day it opened in a facility that not only was formerly a
gallery but also a church, people have lined up to enter the museum
where more than 80 of her works are on permanent display. The line
forms before the museum opens and continues until the closing hour
each day. Guards admit 25 people at a time to tour the galleries
and visit the gift shop.
In the Plazuela, or small courtyard at the museum, is a major
sculpture by O'Keeffe.
Of cast aluminum, it is titled "Abstraction, 1945 and 1979-80,"
indicating it took her more than 30 years to complete it.
The museum encompasses 10 exhibition spaces for the 80-some
paintings, sculptures, drawings, watercolors and pastels. Included
is the small painting of red poppies that also adorns a U.S. postage
This painting is framed and then re-framed in special protective
The comprehensive exhibit includes New Mexico and Southwestern
themes as well as big-city scenes from New York where she lived with
and married photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The core group of 33
paintings come from a joint purchase and gift agreement between the
O'Keeffe Foundation and the Burnett Foundation. Others are on loan
from the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts and from private collections.
Among the private collectors are John and Anne Marion, Fort Worth
residents who also live part of the time in Santa Fe. They were
instrumental in securing the museum for Santa Fe rather than letting
it be built in Abiquiu as first proposed. …