Museum Marks Quarter of a Century

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. The museum has become the most widely visited cultural institution in New Mexico. The artist first visited in 1929 at the invitation of Mabel Dodge Luhan. In 1940 O’Keeffe returned and purchased land at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu. The owners of Ghost Ranch back then were Arthur and Phoebe Pack, who sold a parcel of land on the ranch to the artist. Fifteen years later, the Packs donated the entire ranch to the Presbyterian Church. O’Keeffe became infuriated when she heard the news, since she felt that her privacy would be compromised.

Texas Art Teacher Then New York Artist

In 1916 Georgia O’Keeffe went to see an exhibit at the 291 gallery of the work of Marsden Hartley and that’s where she met Alfred Stieglitz. O’Keeffe, who was born in 1887, had been an art school teacher in Texas. When she came to New York she was just starting her career as an artist. Stieglitz, who was 24 years older than O’Keeffe, became  enamored with her both artistically and emotionally. Soon after they met they began an affair and had an exhibit of her work at the 291 gallery.  Stieglitz divorced his first wife and married O’Keeffe in 1924.

Death & Rebirth

Her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, died in in 1946 and that’s when O’Keeffe moved to New Mexico. Alfred Stieglitz had propelled her career as one of the most important female artists of the 20th century. The artist’s images of skulls and flowers have become an ubiquitous representation of the American southwest. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe attracts thousands of visitors annually. Her Abiquiu home and studio became a Historic National Landmark in 1998. Following the death of O’Keeffe in 1986 her ashes were scattered at the top of Pedernal Mountain behind her home.

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