Georgia O’Keeffe is an American Artist widely known as the “Mother of American modernism”. Born in 1887 and raised on a farm in rural Wisconsin, she left to receive her formal art training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League of New York. However, she soon felt limited by the focus on copying nature and eventually left New York to work as a commercial illustrator. After two years of that, she taught in Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina. It was there that she began to develop her personal style of art, highly influenced by the philosophies of Arthur Wesley Dow who took inspiration from nature but did not seek to recreate it in his art.
By the 1920s, O’Keeffe was widely regarded as one of America's most successful artists. She was most well known for her depictions of New York Skyscrapers and enlarged flowers.
O’Keeffe made her first trip to New Mexico in the Summer of 1929. She was inspired by the landscape and architecture, and she moved permanently to New Mexico 20 years later in 1949. It was here that she added New Mexico landscapes to her list of iconic works.
O’Keeffe suffered from macular degeneration later in life, and she painted her last unassisted work in 1972. Not to be deterred, she used the help of assistants to create art for years afterward. She passed away in 1986 at the age of 98.
The museum was opened in 1997. It is a testament not only to her art but also to the creative process and the landscapes that inspired her. The museum also maintains two of O’Keeffe’s homes and studios in northern New Mexico.
The museum has over 3,000 works, including oil paintings, drawing, and other art forms. There are also works that combine O’Keeffe’s work with pieces created by other American modernist artists.
The museum sponsors research into fields like Modernist art, photography, architecture, and music. Various educational programs are offered, with over 7,000 students each year benefitting from workshops, lectures, and discussions.
Cover photo by Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Exterior, 2016. InSight Foto, Inc. © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.