Santa Fe Art This Summer

Santa Fe richly deserves its artistic reputation, and summer is a season that brings many opportunities to learn why. Free Friday evenings at the museums, First Friday Artwalks at the Railyard and Last Friday Artwalks in the West Palace and GALA Arts District, right off the historic Santa Fe Plaza, may be at the end of the week, but they are just the beginning of an arts experience!

The Santa Fe Plaza: Green Heart of our Town

ART Santa Fe

Now in its eleventh year, ART Santa Fe brings contemporary artists from around the nation and the world to the attractive and welcoming Santa Fe Community Convention Center. At 72,000 square feet, with state-of-the-art amenities, what a change this venue has brought to this particular art scene! Taking place from July 7-10, the broad schedule of events includes a gala opening night Vernissage, as well as the informative and entertaining Art Santa Fe Presents lecture series that features noted art-world critics and cognoscenti.

Art Santa Fe Returns to the City Different

International Folk Art Market

Santa Fe is already renowned for the fantastic collection at the Museum of International Folk Art, and the weekend of July 9-10 brings the International Folk Art Market to the Milner Plaza on Museum Hill. The goals of economic stability and cultural sustainability for global folk arts combine to create a positive inter-cultural exchange that unites artisans and aficianados from around the world. During this festive two-day event, more than 120 select folk artists from more than 45 countries will travel to Santa Fe, where fortunate fans can peruse and purchase unique folk art direct from these diverse artisans.

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market from David Moore on Vimeo.

Spanish Market

No summer in La Ciudad Real de Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis (Santa Fe’s official moniker) would be complete without this annual celebration of traditional and contemporary Spanish arts. Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Spanish Market has grown to include far more than the beautiful retablos and straw applique of yester-year; today, collectors can encounter La Guadalupana rendered in computer circuitry or find a pair of far-out bottle-cap earrings. Held on July 30-31, this event is a consistent contributor to the lively Plaza scene.

Santa Fe’s Spanish Heritage

SOFA West

Many art-lovers are already aware of the annual SOFA (Scultpure Objects & Functional Art) shows that take place in New York and Chicago, and three years ago, SOFA arrived in Santa Fe seeking western exposure. Taking place from August 4-7, SOFA West brings international, gallery-curated exhibitions of work that present the very best in contemporary fine art and design. This year, the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art will come along for the ride with SOFA West, adding the leading dealers of outsider and non-traditional folk art to this exciting artistic mix.

Indian Market

If you haven’t already made your reservations, attendance at the 89th annual Santa Fe Indian Market will require some timely effort on your part and could even necessitate a stay in Albuquerque, as Santa Fe hotels frequently sell out! There is nothing quite like seeing the diverse Native faces from around the nation, all gathered in one place to celebrate their arts and culture. Silver jewelry flashes, beads jingle, and lots and lots of wampum changes hands in a very short period of time. This year’s market takes place on the weekend of August 20-21, and if you already have all your travel plans in place, include making advance dinner reservations as part of your planning – we can help!

The Many Faces of Indian Market: Photo SWAIA

The Houser Compound

If you have a car, we encourage a visit to the Houser Compound, the home of the noted Apache artist, Allan Houser. Located about 20 minutes south of downtown Santa Fe, this pristine plot showcases a treasure trove of works by the late sculptor in a gorgeous landscape setting. And it can even be reserved for private events, such as weddings and birthdays!

We Sing the Praises of the Houser Compound

Shidoni

For sculpture closer to town, just seven miles north in Tesuque, you’ll find the Shidoni Sculpture Garden, which holds work by many local and national artists, all arrayed in a petite river valley just minutes from the Plaza. The Shidoni Foundry also invites visitors to observe bronze pourings, typically on Saturdays, although the schedule is not always firmed up until the Friday before.

We invite you to enjoy an artistically engaging stay in the City Different!

Santa Fe Travel Leads Home

Santa Fe may be a southwestern paradise, but we locals do leave on occasion, even if the time of year is foreboding…and even when the foreboding is borne out in fact! When the weather delays that froze up 2/3 of the country kept this Santa Fe traveler in the Big Apple with additional time to fill, a business trip bestowed unexpected pleasures that more than made up for the 30-hour return trip (which also yielded renewed appreciation for the stamina and commitment of our guests, who sometimes arrive so tired!).

Snow in the Big Apple

Since I am one of our Santa Fe Opera‘s most ardent fans, extra time meant that a visit to the Metropolitan Opera was inevitable. Waiting through the long months between seasons here in Santa Fe makes having the “opera-tunity” to see a live performance especially delightful. While I have been solaced monthly by the Met simulcasts shown locally at the Lensic Center, nothing really compares to that opening moment when the conductor steps onto the podium and the lights go down. It’s simply thrilling! Thanks to our excellent local Opera company, I had last seen Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra back in the summer of 2004, when Mark Delavan sang the title role and Patricia Racette, a Santa Fe favorite, sang the role of his daughter, Amelia.

Patricia Racette as Amelia and Mark Delavan as Simon; Santa Fe Opera 2004 Production of Simon Boccanegra

Our  rapidly-changing Santa Fe weather always contributes an element of danger (the possibility of wild winds, lightning and thunder) that suits lush historical tales like this one. No fear of weather ensconced safely indoors at the Met, however, where the sense of danger came from the story, full of intrigue and big brassy horns, not to mention Dmitri Hvorostovsky‘s silver mane!  It was a stunning performance, and I came away with the satisfaction of finally seeing James Levine on the podium, a long-held desire. Now that long-held desire has transmuted into patiently waiting for opening night here in Santa Fe, which takes place on Friday, July 1, 2011, with a new production of Charles Gounod’s Faust, led by chief conductor, Frederic Chaslin and director Stephen Lawless. Faust…now that’s a dangerous story!

“Full Court Press” for Simon Boccanegra at the Santa Fe Opera 2004

While waiting for my rescheduled departure, I headed for the other Met, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where a photography exhibition of works by Stieglitz, Steichen and Strand was on display. Nice alliteration on that title and a very serendipitous Santa Fe sense of familiarity for a visiting New Mexican! While I have seen some of Alfred Stieglitz’s beautiful photos of Georgia O’Keeffe at our wonderful O’Keeffe Museum, in an exhibition of this size, there were naturally some exciting discoveries. Beautiful partial nudes and detailed photos of O’Keeffe’s gorgeous (and talented) hands spoke volumes about the deep connection that bound these two artists together.

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe – Hands, 1919 (printed 1920-1930s) ©Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

It’s no surprise that photographer Paul Strand also spent plenty of time in New Mexico, as have so many artists of all persuasions. Interested parties can peruse the fruits of his labor with a copy of Paul Strand Southwest from our local Photo-Eye Gallery and Bookstore located in Santa Fe on Garcia Street, just a short stroll from the Inn. Even Edward Steichen has a NM connection, with the 1995 book published by the University of New Mexico Press, Picturing an Exhibition: The Family of Man and 1950s America.  In this book, author Eric Sandeen presents a study of Steichen’s historic exhibit and its subsequent global influence, along the way examining the exhibit’s origins, Steichen’s beliefs and background, and the aim of his image selection, all reflected through the lens of the 1950s.  Steichen’s work in the Met exhibit certainly demonstrates his broad array of interests, but there’s always something else to be learned from the back story, especially when the opportunity to learn is found so close to home.

And in a wintery, blustery city with 7-foot high snowbanks, isn’t finding hometown connections one of the comforts of travel? Now if the Big Apple only had our great green chile (an immediate visit to Atrisco ensued upon return), a lonely Santa Fe traveler would never feel far from home!

MMMMM…Green Chile!

Santa Fe Opera Photographs courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera, all rights reserved. Alfred Steiglitz Photograph ©Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Santa Fe Museum Hop & Shop

The Wheelwright Museum of the Almerican Indian, International Museum of Folk Art and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture are all located on Museum Hill, Camino Lejo in Santa Fe, NM

New Mexico Museum of Art, 107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe

New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Avenue, Santa Fe

Palace of the Governors is on the north side of the Santa Fe Plaza

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 217 Johnson Street in Santa Fe

BRRRR! That’s all we can say about wandering around outdoors right now. While not as challenged by winter as many destinations, Santa Fe can have frigid weather, much to some travelers’ surprise. On those winter days when the sun is not shining, cold weather does negatively impact the desire to wander in and out of Santa Fe’s many unusual shops and boutiques. So we suggest combining your visit to our wonderful museums with a visit to the equally wonderful museum shops!

Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian

Starting on Museum Hill, a favorite has to be the Case Trading Post at the Wheelwright Musemum of the American Indian. The museum itself is unusual in that it operates serarately from the New Mexico Museum group that includes the other major institutions in Santa Fe. Even more unusual is the fact that admission to the Wheelwright is by donation, so while the suggestion is thoughtfully observed, no actual fees are required. Currently on exhibit through April 17, 2011, is a fabulous show of Native American rugs woven by the Toadlena/Two Grey Hills master weavers. The show should not be missed, and a visit with these beautiful works of art can be followed by a walk down the stairs to the intimate Case Trading Post, where a desire to buy a rug can be easily satisfied.

The Case Trading Post

The Case Trading Post has been artistically designed to recreate the flavor of an early 20th century trading post on the Navajo Reservation, right down to the squeakiest floors in Santa Fe. The management of this little gem boasts some sharp eyes, much like the traders of yore, with a beautiful selection of old and new items that reflect the panoply of Native arts, past and present. Particular favorites for me begin at the “pawn” section in the back, where I regularly yearn for beautiful inlays and handsomely worn silver goodies. The pottery and weavings chosen by the Case’s skilled buyer offer a variety of styles and price points. I have bought some lovely little watercolors, very reasonably-priced,  by Hopi painter Peter Sumatzkuku that I never get tired of seeing on the wall. There are plenty of books for adult minds and for children, and enough small affordable collectibles that you can bring the kids in without feeling like your wallet will be seriously depleted when you leave. Serious depletion here is for the adults, but when it occurs, you can be sure you’ll go home with something you love and treasure.

The Museum of International Folk Art is much praised and justly so, and its gift shop gets kudos too. After spending a few hours or a full day in MOIFA’s collection, the yen to take home a little piece of folk art can easily be assuaged in the shop located right by the entrance. Visitors have until January 31 of this year to see the exhibit, “A Century of Masters: The NEA National Heritage Fellows of New Mexico,” comprised of examples of the works of all the Fellows from New Mexico in its collections, from weavings, to pottery, tinwork, straw appliqué, retablos, and woodcarving. National Heritage Fellows must demonstrate artistic excellence and commitment to their art forms through process, technique, and subsequent transmission of the knowledge to strengthen and enrich their communities. This notion has been an ongoing tradition in New Mexico throughout the centuries, and this is an excellent opportunity to see the fruits of this heritage.

I Met ‘Em at the MOIFA Gift Shop!

The plethora of objects in the MOIFA tend to stun the mind, but there is always something memorable that stays with one. Even for those who choose to travel to Santa Fe at times other than the International Folk Art Market, desires inevitably arise: Need a calavera for Day of the Dead? Earrings made of bottle caps? Colcha embroidery? Name your fixation, and the friendly staff at the shop will help you find a souvenir or gift that accurately represents the finest in folk art traditions.  And of course, if a visit makes it imperative to return in July for the Market, make your reservations now, because it is always a sell-out!

A Slogan Worth Remembering

A Slogan Worth Remembering

While on Museum Hill, lovers of Native arts will want to stop in at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. History and art combine to educate and delight in the painstakingly acquired collection of this institution, and their website offers many resources, such as a Pueblo dance calendar to help you decide when to visit if this is part of your desired itinerary. Currently on display, but soon to leave in February, is an exhibition of Huichol art with the fine yarn paintings for which this indigenous culture is known.  The concept of balance is central to Huichol art and culture, and who doesn’t need that in their life about now?

Inexpensive souvenirs are sometimes necessary for our wallets, but for those who want the real deal, museum shops are the go-to experience. Making a purchase at the Indian Arts and Culture Museum shop guarantees that you’ll be going home with authenticated goods, a certainty not always ensured by shopping at the many tiendas in Santa Fe. Shining silver bracelets, fine pottery and kachinas, tomes on Native art, you’ll find them there. The staff is knowledgeable about the art and the artists, and they’ll take the time to help you receive a better understanding of designs and the culture.

Huichol Yarn Paintings at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

If your Santa Fe visit is limited to downtown, you can find plenty to admire in our New Mexico Museum of Fine Art located on the northwest corner of the Plaza. A new exhibit entitled “Cloudscapes” just opened on January 14, comprising a selection of pictures from the museum’s permanent collection of works that by necessity spend much of their life  in storage due to light sensitivity issues. Many of the pieces are from the mid-twenthieth century, along with more recent acquisitions, and works on display are by masters of the medium, including familiar names like Alfred Stieglitz, Laura Gilpin and Edward Weston, with more recent images by Paul Caponigro and William Clift. Following your trip through photographic history, make a stop at this museum store. Though petite in size, it will yield good postcards, always an inexpensive memento, as well as catalogues of past exhibits and a wide assortment of art books. And the art jewelry is always a delight!

The Distinctive New Mexico Museum of Art

Of course, a walk to the Plaza should include a trip to the New Mexico History Museum, where one can garner a comprehensive understanding of how the Southwest grew and changed through the centuries. Running through early April is an interesting exhibit entitled “Wild at Heart,” curated by New Mexico art historian David L. Witt of the Academy for the Love of Learning, home of the Seton Legacy Project in Santa Fe. The exhibit is a fascinating study of Ernest Thompson Seton, conservationist, author, artist, lecturer and co-founder of the Boy Scouts and includes a series of lecture programs that expand one’s understanding of Seton’s legacy and how it lives on in Santa Fe. And lo and behold, there’s more than one gift shop! Beautiful hand-crafted decor items and artistic creations by New Mexicans from all over the state will be found in the shop on the Lincoln Avenue side near the new museum, and a treasure trove of New Mexico books, archival photos and prints from the Museum of New Mexico Press will be found at the Washington Avenue location around the caorner from the Palace of the Governors.

Prints, Photos and Books Galore!

You truly can’t finish a downtown tour without a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum! Probably the most well-known name associated with the arts in our state, O’Keeffe is well-represented in this small but gorgeous museum, notable not only for the collection but also for the wonderful educational opportunities it offers to the community. The current exhibit, “O’Keefiana; Art and Art Materials” is itself an education experience, with artworks supplemented by the materials the artist used and the objects that inspired her. The exhibit runs through early May, and it is a pleasure to see the detailed notes O’Keefe made for herself regarding colors she used and the art materials she created to use, along with the art works that resulted from both.

The O’Keeffe Museum Gift Shop

The O’Keeffe gift shop is definitely postcard heaven, with the only hard part being to actually let go of the cards and mail them out! Who doesn’t want to keep these on a wall somewhere? And if you want it bigger, get a poster and frame it to have your own O’Keeffe! If you missed the movie version of O’Keeffe’s life, staring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons, you can get on to enjoy by your own fireplace on a winter evening. The jewelry and clothing items are thoughtful extensions of O’Keeffe’s subject matter, and the books are definitely keepers, destined to be thumbed through repeatedly. The online store is well organized, too, so if you left without it, go online and get it!

Try making your museum hop into the museum shop, and you’ll not only go home with something uniquely Santa Fe, you’ll also know your spent your souvenir dollars to help keep the arts alive in the Land of Enchantment!

Santa Fe: What is There to Do In Early December?

The short answer would be LOTS! With the onset of the holiday season, Santa Fe, like so many other wonderful destinations, comes alive! The wind is crisp, the scent of pinon is on the air, and holiday lights are lit. While the most obvious choice is to be here for the Christmas holiday, especially since the Inn is such an ideal location for touring the Canyon Road and Plaza farolitos, there are definitely many local events in which to participate before the full-bore holiday week.

The month opens with the annual Rumi Concert, a Storydancer project encompassing music, poetry, dance and song presented by local and national talents. Although the esteemed Robert Bly is no longer a visitor, the poetry slot will be filled by Coleman Barks, poet and translator of the 13th century mystical poet, Rumi. Grammy-award winning cellist, David Darling, and Glen Velez, world percussionist, bring harmony and rhythm, and Zuleikha, of the Storydancer Project, contributes both dance and humor. This is always an evening collaboration that lingers in the mind!

 

Friday, December 3rd, offers first Friday gallery openings throughout the city. This will be an excellent night on which you can combine both galleries and museum-going, since the New Mexico Museum of Art is offering “Vintage Music and Homemade Cookies,” from 5:00 to 8:00PM, with holiday music spun on vintage LPs by the museum’s own DJ Prairie Dog and cookies baked by museum staff! And since it’s the first Friday of the month, that means the O’Keeffe Museum is free too!

Holiday season also means children’s theatre, and the Eldorado Children’s Theatre and Teen Players always put on an entertaining show. This year, the troupe presents the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic , The King and I.  Performances takes place at the James A. Little Theatre on Friday, December 3 and Friday, December 10 at 7:00 PM, and at 2:00PM on Saturday, December 4, Sunday December 5, Saturday, December 11, and Sunday, December 12. Tickets can be reserved on line at www.eldoradochildrenstheatre.org, or by calling 466-4656. Great theatre always has to start somewhere, and talent can be found everywhere!

Adult theatre can be found in From Broadway with Love at the Lensic at 7:30PM on Saturday, December 4th.  Kaye Ballard, Liliane Montevecchi, and Donna McKechnie will reunite to star in a one-night-only gala performance to benefit Animal Protection of New Mexico, a non-profit organization that has been challenging historic and widespread animal cruelty in New Mexico for more than 30 years.

Worldy theatre aficionados will thrill to know that there will be an HD simulcast of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as part of the second season of National Theatre Live (NT LIVE), a successful new initiative to broadcast live performances from the National’s stages to cinemas worldwide. The broadcast takes place at the Lensic Center on Friday, December 17 at 7:00PM.

Of course, there will be music and song aplenty! The Santa Fe Men’s Camerata and Zia Singers Holiday Concert takes place at the wonderful Scottish Rite Temple, a landmark in itself, on Saturday, December 4 at 8:00PM and Sunday, December 5 at 4:00PM. The Camerata and the Zia, both directed by Kenneth Knight will join forces for a concert of holiday music, including works from Mendelssohn and Grieg. The combined chorus, about 55 voices strong, will also perform “The Christmas Story According to St. Luke,” a medley of seven well-known Christmas carols arranged by Roger Wagner. The Santa Fe Concert Association brings The King’s Singers for a performance on Wednesday, December 8 at 7:30PM in the St. Francis Cathedral, the perfect spot for holiday chorale.

Not to be outdone by the men, the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble celebrates the holiday withtheir 30th consecutive Christmas Offering Concert. The Ensemble will sing seasonal music and a world premiere by internationally known composer Stephen Paulus, who will be present for the opening concert on Saturday, December 11th. There are several opportunities to attend with concerts on Saturday, December 11; Sunday, December 12; Friday, December 17;and Satueday, December 18, all in Loretto Chapel at 7:30PM.

Music made by the youthful talents of Santa Fe will be on parade at the Mozart y Mariachi Concert, taking place at the St. Francis Auditorium on Friday, December 10 at 6:30PM. This will be some fine mariachi music, performed with spirit and passion, regardless of the performers’ ages and early bedtimes! Classically-inclined youth musicians get their chance to shine on stage on Sunday, December 12 with a performance by the Youth  Philharmonia and Youth Symphony Orchestra in concert at 1:00PM also in the St. Francis auditorium.

Could the holidays be complete without the Nutcracker? Aspen Santa Fe Ballet does the honors with four performances of Tchaikovsky’s holiday treat, two on Saturday, December 11 at 2:00PM and 7:30 PM and two on Sunday, at 1:00PM and 5:00PM. This dance company gets better every year, and Santa Fe is very grateful to have them in our midst to sprinkle snowflakes and sugarplums!

The visual arts will not be neglected as fabulous holiday gifts handcrafted by more than 100 traditional and acclaimed Hispanic artists can be found at the Winter Spanish Market taking place Saturday and Sunday, December 4 and 5 from 10:00AM to 5:00PM at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. And Museum Hill gets into the act on Sunday, December 5th from 10:00AM to 5:00PM with a Winter Festival to celebrate the season, with fun for all ages! There will be  hands-on art making in the Atrium, a performance by the Sangre de Christo Chorale, Creative Writings and Readings from the Santa Fe Community College Creative Writing Program, and a Doña Adelina puppet performance by Los Titiriteros. Now that’s a roster! The 4th Annual Holiday Market at Institute of American Indian Arts takes place on Sunday, December 12 from 9:00AM TO 3:00PM at the Institute, with fun and fantastic creations by IAIA faculty, staff, students, alumni, student clubs and other Native American artists. The school itself is a marvel, surrounded by the glorious New Mexico landscape, where it offers a refuge for young Native artists to discover their roots and culture.

Talk about art is always on tap in Santa Fe, and the Santa Fe Art Institute brings art critic Lucy Lippard as the final lecturer in their program, Elemental: Earth Air Fire Water – Art and Environment. Lippard is the author of over 20 books on contemporary art and has written art criticism for Art in America and The Village Voice.  She has also curated over 50 exhibitions, participated in guerrilla theater, and edited a number of independent publications, including “La Puente de Galisteo” in her home community of Galisteo, New Mexico. The lecture takes place on Thursday, December 9 at 6:00Pm at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

If you won’t be here for Christmas, you can still capture the unique flavor of New Mexico with Las Posadas, an annual re-enactment of the Nativity search for shelter. You can join this tradition on the beautiful Santa Fe Plaza at 5:30PM on Saturday, December 11, as this annual candle-lit procession wends it way around the Plaza, concluding in the courtyard of the  Palace of the Governors’ courtyard with carols, cookies and refreshments.

All this and holiday shopping of the unique brand found in our special destination; the flavor of Christmas and the flavor of Santa Fe combine to make pre-holiday travel a joy, regardless of the weather!

Please feel free to contact our friendly staff to find out more about events that interest you or to make reservations for any Santa Fe December happenings!

Georgia O’Keeffe: How Did She Do It?

O’Keeffiana: Art and Art Materials September 24, 2010 – May 08, 2011

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: 217 Johnson Street Santa Fe, NM (505)946-1000

One of the most intriguing things about any artist’s oeuvre is the question of how it was accomplished.  By the time work is hung in the hallowed halls of a museum, the creation of the work is subsumed in pure enjoyment of the artifact. From now until May 2011, however,the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum gives viewers the opportunity to encounter the materials and process that led to the end product, as well as see the final fruition of the artist’s idea.

On the River 1965: Georgia O’Keeffe

As an artist myself, when someone asks me “How long did it take you to make that?” I always answer, “All of my life!” The new exhibit at the O’Keeffe, entitled O’Keeffiana: Art and Art Materials provides ample evidence for this same truism. Throughout the museum, one can see the repetition of lines and forms that obviously held O’Keeffe’s intensely pointed interest throughout her very long time on the planet. From bones to buildings, tents to trees, her fascination for and love of nature and natural forms is on display throughout the galleries. With sketches mounted next to finished paintings, one can see just how specific and well considered her compositions and intentions were. She appears to have spent long hours studying from many angles the objects that intrigued her and then reducing them to a deceptively simple and beautifully refined abstraction. Once her conception of the essential form developed, she remained constant to this distillation of form, coming back repeatedly to the things she apparently loved the best. Returning over and over to an idea, she had the clarity of purpose and the will to perfect it to what she considered its visual ideal. And although each finished work is unique, the thread of her devotion to certain shapes and colors is demonstrated throughout this satisfying and thoughtfully curated exhibit.

Horse’s Skull: Photo by Malcolm Varon 2001

Horse’s Skull White Rose 1931: Georgia O’Keeffe

In addition to a whole raft of works I have not seen in the museum before (where DOES this embarrassment of riches originate?), the exhibit also includes some of the actual objects that O’Keeffe loved, the stones and bones, many in arrangements as she left them. To see them is to have a tiny window into a walk she may have taken on the Pedernal, or a dry riverbed on which she trod; to see them is to see the natural glory of northern New Mexico that brought and then kept Georgia O’Keeffe in the horizontal river valley of Abiquiu rather the the vertical heights of New York, where most “famous” artists ply their trade.

The art materials are also a revelation, with hand-tailored brushes and chunky hand-made pastels, along with a whole box of white flake oil paint that she bought when she knew it would be phased out because of the lead content. Her patient attention to developing just the colors and mood she wanted is evidenced in personal paint swatches with their exact compositions of elements detailed carefully on the back, so that she could use her chosen hues again. This thoughtful display of art materials provides a glimpse into the discipline and dedication that fostered such a long and satisfying career.

O’Keeffe’s Painting Materials: Photo by Malcolm Varon 2001

A series of photographs, many by photographers whose names also resonate, show both the playful side of O’Keeffe as well as the perseverance of an artist who would paint while ensconced inside of a car if the weather interfered with a scene before she gathered what she needed from it. From youth to old age, this was an artist who knew what she wanted and went after it with tenacity and determination!

Georgia O’Keeffe after Return from New Mexico, 1929: Alfred Stieglitz

I benefitted from a docent tour of this exhibit and would recommend it, as it helped to flesh out the progression of this significant artist, her work and her career. Without a docent, I would never have known, for example, that at almost 90,  O’Keeffe painted her last large canvas while strapped into a chair mounted on a scaffold!  Docent orientations take place at 10:30 am on the days the museum is open, and a state-of-the-art audio tour is available. The museum is open Saturday through Thursday from 10am to 5pm and Friday from 10am to 8pm; admission is free from 5-8pm on the first Friday of each month. In keeping with the museum’s mission to expand appreciation of the arts, there is an ongoing series of public programs that provides artistic insights and educational opportunities throughout the year.

Just as Georgia O’Keeffe was a unique jewel among American artists, so is the O’Keeffe museum a real gem in the heart of Santa Fe, and we are so lucky and grateful to have it in our midst!

All images courtesy of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum; all rights are reserved.

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