Friday, February 5, 2016

Snow and O'Keeffe ~ New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

To create one's world in any of the arts takes courage.
~Georgia O'Keeffe

Abstraction, (detail) 1980
Modeled 1946
White cast epoxy

It was a glorious Sunday in December, when my Mom, sister and I set out for the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, in Santa Fe. We had wanted to go for years and finally this was it! 

To prepare myself, a couple of weeks out, I downloaded the audiobook Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe by Laurie Lisle to my "Audible" app, on my iPhone.  

It was fabulous and so added to my trip to trip to Santa Fe, giving context to her life and work there, and really so much more about her as a person and as an artist. I highly recommend it. (Yes, you can get it on Kindle or an actual book!)

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
Santa Fe

Series I White & Blue Flower Shapes, 1919
Oil on Board

The painting above was one of my favorites with its gorgeous color, cemetery and brushwork. I love that the flower is so blown up it becomes an abstraction and new way of looking at the flower. Which, of course, was much of her intent but it's also the way she executed it ... beautiful.

Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, 
and to see takes time - 
like to have a friend takes time.
~Georgia O'Keeffe

This is the video they show at the O'Keeffe Museum (narrated by Gene Hackman) and shows her, and where she lived at Ghost Ranch, as well as the countryside and the art it inspired. It's only about 13 minutes and even gives a quick overview of her start as a professional artist.

Below, was the first gallery we walked into. The paintings are always so much more beautiful in person than they are seeing them in books or prints. They are so lush and have this depth and the paint ... you could just eat it up!

Staring into the "face" of these flowers which much bigger than your own head, in person ... sigh.  This one of the petunias is incredibly beautiful.

Georgia O'Keeffe
Petunia No. 2, 1924

The next two paintings were smaller than many of her flower paintings, but just exquisite, like little jewels.

Calla Lily Turned Away, 1923
Pastel on paper-faced cardboard

I believe I would rather have Stieglitz like something-
anything I had done-
than anyone else I know.

~Georgia referring to the man who would become her husband, 
the famous photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz

Calla Lily for Alfred, 1927
Oil on canvas board

The museum opened in 1997 and my sister told me it is the only museum in the United States dedicated to a female artist.  In the beginning "the collection was made up 140 O'Keeffe paintings, watercolors,  and pastels but now includes nearly 1,200 objects."

This is a great short video of Georgia O'Keeffe talking about her own work, and that the bones she painted didn't have to do with death and how they "had so much life in them." I love the blue and white series of pelvic bones against the sky. Such simple graceful lines ...

Above the Clouds I, 1963
Oil on canvas
48 x 84"
(This photo is much warmer than the painting.)

... and the SKY - Anita you have never seen SKY - it is wonderful ...
~Georgia O'Keeffe in a letter to Anita Pollitzer, 1916

Todd Webb
O'Keeffe's Studio, Ghost Ranch,
New Mexico, 1945

I often painted fragments of things 
because it seemed to make my statement as well as
or better than the whole could.
~Georgia O'Keeffe

Pond in the Woods, 1922
pastel on paper

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, 
you could not ignore its beauty.
~ Georgia O'Keeffe

Abstraction White Rose II, 1927
Oil on Canvas

detail of above painting ... some of the brushwork was almost invisible.

I've been absolutely terrified 
every moment of my life 
and I've never let it keep me from doing 
a single thing that I wanted to do.
~Georgia O'Keeffe

 This sculpture was one of only two that O'Keeffe ever did and it was after her husband Alfred Stieglitz died. It's so sensual and beautiful the way it catches the light. It was so lovely in the window. It's the same piece as the detail photo at the top of the post.

Abstraction, 1980
Modeled 1946
White cast epoxy


From New York to New Mexico: 
Masterworks of American Modernism
 from The Vilcek Foundation Collection
September 25, 2015 - January 10, 2016

"American art experienced radical change a century ago. A group of innovative, highly-individualistic artists broke with tradition to define a new art for the United States, an art expressing the energy, vitality, and singular identity of modern America."

Here are just a few pieces from the Vilcek Collection exhibition, that was going on while were there, at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. 

I love this O'Keeffe piece! Look at that green!!! 

Georgia O'Keeffe
Lavender Hill with Green, 1952

It was all so far away -
there was quiet and an untouched feel to the country 
and I could work as I pleased.
~Georgia O'Keeffe

Helen Torr
American, 1886-1967
Impromptu, 1928
Oil on canvas board

Stanton Macdonald-Wright
American, 1890-1973
Gestation #3, 1963

My sister, mom and I all loved this piece so much, I'm adding a detail photo of it. It was incredible. At first glance it's so vibrant but then there are all of these subtle, more muted tones and beautiful gradations of color, along with the wonderful shapes that in some places have very defined spaces and in other places merge ... I love the color palette and how the composition and shapes send you around the painting as if to music. No idea what the artist actually intended and this part of art history is something I never studied or read about, but I just love it. Now I want to read all about him!

There were so many amazing pieces I could show you but ... off to the New Mexico Museum of Art!

New Mexico Museum of Art
Santa Fe

Louise Crow
American, 1891-1968
Yen-see-do, before 1919
Oil on canvas


In the courtyard ... so beautiful! There was also a Christmas Tree which I already posted in my Santa Fe Holiday post. The snow was so perfect it almost didn't look real!

They had told us at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum that they were having a show of her work at this Museum, as well, and that many of their pieces were on display (almost around the corner!) Unfortunately, no photos because it was a special exhibition and the New Mexico Museum of Art didn't own the paintings. Their own collection, fortunately, we could photograph and there were some really gorgeous paintings like these!

E. Martin Hennings
American, 1886-1956
Among the Aspens, 1939
Oil on canvas

Marsden Hartley, 1877-1943)
El Santo, 1919
oil on canvas

Robert Henri
American, 1865-1929
Portrait of Dieguito Roybal, San Ildefonso Pueblo, 1916
Oil on canvas

There was a lot of glare, so that's why some of these photos are at a crazy angle!

Gerald Cassidy
American, 1879-1934
Cui Bono?, circa 1911
Oil on canvas
(huge painting 93 1/2 x 48 in. and just beautiful.)

T.C. Cannon
American, Kiowa-Caddo, 1946-1978
Washington Landscape with Peace Medal Indian, 1976
acrylic on canvas
(One of my favorite pieces in the museum. Interesting title ... "Washington Landscape" is said first  before "Peace Medal Indian" and look how tiny the Capitol Building is! Anyway, it's huge and colorful and stunning. Matisse would have dug it. No?)

 Saint Francis Auditorium 
Opened June 1918

Though it's built to look like a traditional church, it's a civic auditorium which is connected to the museum and they have all sorts of concerts and programs. Here's a little video which tells about it, if you are interested.

Donald Beauregard, was brought to Santa Fe to execute the series of murals. He prepared the sketches for all the murals and executed the Saint Clare triptych but died in 1913 before he could complete the others. The Apotheosis of St. Francis, the Conversion of St. Francis and the outer panels of the St. Clare triptych were completed by Kenneth Chapman. 

The Conversion of Saint Francis

The murals are so pretty. They remind me of beautiful illustrations in my old books ...

The Renunciation of Saint Clare

Saint Clare triptych 

What a beautiful museum!

Near the plaza ... all decorated for Christmas. It could not have been more charming or beautiful.

So much art in Santa Fe, we could have used a week to see it. Anyway, after the two museums we were off to lunch at Palacio Cafe, which was a casual little place and very tasty! The chicken enchilada plate hit the spot and it's close to the plaza and near the Saint Francis Basilica, across from the park.


It takes courage to be a painter.
I always felt I walked on the edge of a knife.
On this knife, I might fall off on either side,
but I'd walk it again!
So what! What if you do fall off?
I'd rather be doing something I really wanted to do.
~Georgia O'Keeffe

Clearly I am behind on posting since this was in December! More New Mexico to come. We headed to the Taos Pueblo among other adventures!

Hope your February is off to a great start! 

Blessings and light!


Rick Forrestal said...

I saw your post this morning . . .
went to brew a fresh pot of coffee, and returned.
NOW . . . I was ready to take my time, review your
thoughtful post. always so many great visuals,
such nicely photographed features.
Makes me remember what a special place Santa Fe is,
for art, for the holidays.
And I do love George O'Keefe, as you do as well.
Great photography.
Thank you.

donna baker said...

Oh what fun Lucinda. I am certain you thought you were in heaven.

Kerry O'Gorman said...

WOW! you sure can post a good post! So much much beauty to digest. I do love how Georgia O'Keefe has a way of turning flowers into these amazing objects that may or not look like what they are. Indeed they are flowers but the context of the image is so much more...emotion, passion, fullness, erotica, musical etc...
The snow on the adobe buildings is heavenly.
The painting "Among the Aspens" is now one of my favourites. I love the light in it so much.
Thanks for all the great links to have a closer look.

Unknown said...

Amazing post

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