Recently, on a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, my husband and I visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. It was high on our (my) list of places to visit while staying in this history-filled Southwestern American city. So, on the first morning, after a long trip the day before, we planned to visit the museum dedicated to this iconic American artist.
Walking in Santa Fe is easy. Within a few blocks, we arrived without any problems. The museum had a sign that relayed some of the paintings were down for cataloging and we’d receive a discount on admission for the day. Little did we know that “some” meant many paintings were down. So, our visit progressed quickly.
Before our visit, I knew little of this artist. Of course, I knew her name and was familiar with her large flower paintings. But, the most informative part of our visit was a 15-minute film we watched, narrated by O’Keeffe herself, about her life. By any comparison, she was extraordinary! For us personally, it was interesting that we could draw some personal connections to her. O’Keeffe was born in Sun Prairie Wisconsin, which is less than a few hours away from where we live now. As her art took off, she spent time in New York, and not only New York City, where she had showings of her art aided by Arthur Stieglitz, American Photographer and gallery owner who eventually became her husband in 1924, but also in Lake George at Stieglitz’s family retreat.
O’Keeffe developed a style that was instantly recognizable from her cityscapes to her, larger than life flowers, Santa Fe Landscapes, and finally with abstractions. This is what causes common people to feel that they know her or her work – the simple fact that it is recognizable.
One thing that became very evident during our visit to the museum was this was a woman with a vision. She was determined to paint and create what she saw in her mind’s eye as opposed to what people wanted her to paint. She stayed true to herself. And, I think when you are reaching for success, have people that support you and advise you, staying true to your own vision is difficult. Vision became literally important for O’Keeffe as she lost it in later life, but relied on vivid memory and experience to still create art.
O’Keeffe ended up moving to Santa Fe, and later to Ghost ranch after Arthur Stieglitz died in 1946. O’Keeffe died in 1986 at the age of 98. But, her art lives on and will continue to do so.
Source page: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum If the video does not play or load, visit (click) the link provided as the source page. Thank you!