Friday, December 16, 2016

Art in Santa Fe 3 -- Georgia O'Keeffe

My brother said "We're in New Mexico -- we have to go to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum."  So even though nobody else was wildly enthusiastic, we did.  I was surprised at a couple of things: first, that the museum is so small, and second, that there are so few of the iconic Georgia paintings.  Only one skull, as I recall, and only two or three big flowers.  That was fine with me, since I'm no big fan of her skulls and flowers.

I am a big fan of her upstate New York barns, and disappointed to find only one such painting.  It was a nice one, in a subdued palette, with only a touch of red at the far left edge to enliven the scene.

The Barns, Lake George, 1926

I also like the urban scenes from her New York City days.

Flagpole, 1925

This skyscraper painting, done in the 70s, is very similar in composition (but twice as big) to one made in 1926.

Untitled (City Night), 1970s

Perhaps my favorite paintings in the museum were among her last works, from the late 1970s, when she was severely impaired with macular degeneration.  These vivid watercolors use simplified forms and from-the-tube colors, and glow with the mastery of a hand that remembered very well how to paint, even if the eye had problems keeping up.

Untitled (Abstraction Green Line and Red Circle)

Untitled (Abstraction Green Line and Three Red Circles)

Untitled (Abstraction Blue Wave and Three Red Circles)


  1. We attended a showing of Ms O'Keeffe's work at the DIA (Detroit). Interesting show and I was introduced to some of her 'other' work (not flowers and skulls!)...interesting work.

  2. Thirty of Georgia O'Keefe's iconic paintings from the Museum are currently travelling in Australia in "O'Keefe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism." The last two are pioneering women Australian modernist artists and this beautiful exhibition is currently on at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne, then travelling to Sydney and Brisbane.