Georgia on My Mind

It is no secret that one of our favorite places to visit is Santa Fe, New Mexico. We have stayed there numerous times over the past 35 years, enjoying all that it has to offer. One memorable trip included our visit to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum during its inaugural year. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAO’Keefe has an interesting story that stretches from teaching in Texas to developing her abstract art in New York City to finding her muse in the Piedra Lumbre of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. We have returned to the Museum four more times, the last being this past January. 

By no means, obviously, does this photographic presentation come anywhere near experiencing the Museum. However, since not everyone can travel to Santa Fe, we wish to share our visit in photographs.

Following are two of her early cityscapes. I find these interesting, but not as representative of her as later paintings around Abiquiú. She lived with her husband Alfred Stieglitz, photographer and art gallery owner, on the 30th floor of the Shelton Hotel in NYC. From that viewpoint came several of her cityscapes.

In the 1920s she began developing her paintings of flowers as if viewing through a magnifying lens. Her over 200 paintings of flowers close-up established her as an important figure of the art scene worldwide.

She fell in love with New Mexico on a visit while teaching from 1916-1918 in Canyon, Texas. She returned in the summer of 1929 to Taos, again in 1934 to Ghost Ranch, and, finally, moving there permanently in 1940, buying Rancho de los Burros. She moved to Abiquiú in 1949 a few years before her world tour.

During her travels she became fascinated with clouds that she viewed from the airplane window. She began a series of those in the 1960s. We were fortunate to have seen her Sky above Clouds IV of that series at the Art Institute of Chicago. It is quite impressive as it is 8-feet by 24-feet in size.

A few more of her “traveling” paintings.

Georgia O’Keefe died on March 6, 1986 at the age of 98. We leave you with one of her many paintings of Pedernal Mountain on which her ashes were scattered, followed by my photograph of the same. She said of Cerro Pedernal, “It’s my private mountain. It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it”

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Should you ever get the chance, go to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum. The exhibits change periodically with her over 2,000 paintings.

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