Visiting this museum has always been a dream of mine. I must mention a little about our first impression of Santa Fe though, since this is our first time here. We drove into the center of town and found ourselves subjected to sensory overload. The adobe architecture combined with the colorful Indian (they call themselves Indian out here) and Mexican/ Spanish influences are truly spectacular. This town is an art mecca for those who love art, the city ranks number three in the nation for art galleries, first being New York and second San Francisco. But the city deserves a blog post of its own so for now, I’ll concentrate on the O’Keeffe museum.
We arrived at the museum just in time for a docent lead tour, which I highly recommend. Our docent lead us on an hour long tour of the museum, an overview of O’Keeffe’s life, her evolution into her own style and some indepth look at selected pieces. The museum is small enough that this type of tour works well and leaves you with a good understanding of her life and the way she looked at nature.
I can see how O’Keeffe, being born in a farm in Wisconsin, was rooted to nature to begin with. The beauty of the area surrounding Santa Fe, with the majestic Sangre de Cristo mountains and her beloved Pedernal Mountains would ignite her creative mind but always seeing nature through her particular lense. Her pieces become more meditative rather than an actual depiction of the landscape and that in my opinion is the way she approached art. I loved a great anecdote about her, when a friend asked her why she painted the Pedernal Mountains so much, she replied that God told her that if she painted them often enough he would gift them to her. Her ashes were spread on these hills after her death at the age of 99 so she became part of them after all.
If you love nature and art it doesn’t get better than this. In a few days we have a planned visit to Abiquiu where she had her studio and her views of the Pedernals, I can’t wait to go and see her vantage point, stay tuned for that post.