Museum visitors have the opportunity to intimately experience the artwork of one of America’s greatest painters, Georgia O’Keeffe. Presenting works from the permanent collection, the Museum of Art displays O’Keeffe’s rich blue skies and beautiful stark landscapes in the Beauregard Gallery. Georgia O’Keeffe’s Legacy in New Mexico, a permanent exhibit curated by Joseph Traugott, features gems that had been out of public view for quite some time.
Born on a farm in Wisconsin, O’Keeffe lived in Virginia, Texas, and New York before settling in northern New Mexico, which she affectionately referred to as “her land.” Inspired by the vast spaces and brilliant hues of the high desert, the artist once said, “All the earth colors of the painter’s palette are out there in the many miles of badlands.”
In 1940, O'Keeffe Purchased a house at Ghost Ranch near the town of Abiquiu. From her window, she often gazed out onto the flat-topped mesa called the Pedernal, which she painted many times throughout her career. Speaking of her beloved mesa, she said, "It's my private mountain; it belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it."
A painting inspired by O’Keeffe’s mesa—titled “Red Hills with the Pedernal”—is on display in the ongoing exhibition, How the West Is One. Other works will include “Red Hills”, “Blue River”, and “Dark and Lavender Leaf.” The pieces highlight O’Keeffe’s spare vision, with flattened forms and harmonious hues.
O’Keeffe’s paintings glow in the refurbished Beauregard Gallery, a period setting in the Museum of Arts that offers a unique context for viewing her works. The museum’s collection of O’Keeffe paintings is well-loved in the community, and underscores her accomplishments in New Mexico, which have become icons of the Southwest.