Nothing is less real than realism – Georgia O’Keeffe, 1965

Today was art museum/gallery day. We rushed and managed two art museums and one gallery. This should not be a surprise to anyone who has accompanied us to art museums. Jean and I like to absorb the art, take lots of photos (if allowed), make notes, and sometimes make sketches. It’s a slow process, but wonderfully fulfilling.

Our first stop was the Georgia O’keeffe Museum that is a mere four blocks from our condo/casita. We arrived shortly after opening and were immediately swept into her world. There is a marvelous video about her and her life that provided insights into her life and art. However, her art took center stage and each room revealed new styles, colors, and ideas. Here is a small sample that reveals some of the many styles of O’keeffe.

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Jean was especially fascinated with her tree paintings. O’keeffe commented that if people were more like trees perhaps she would like them better.

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One room contained a selection of her self portraits, including many watercolor nudes.

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One of the more interesting pieces of information was that in later life she revisited paintings completed many years before. Here are two paintings of the same scene painted 34 years apart.

IMG_4587 Large Web view


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Our next stop was the New Mexico Museum of Art, established in 1917. The building was one of the first buildings designed and built in the Pueblo Spanish Revival style and spurred a renewal of interest in adobe building styled after the colonial period.

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This museum specializes in art and artists of New Mexico. I wish other museums (Seattle Art Museum listen up) would have such a regional focus to explore, encourage, and develop local artists. This museum has been doing it for 100 years and the results are obvious in the diversity and talent of New Mexico artists. One of the ongoing shows is a rotating show of 5 new New Mexican artists for 7 weeks each for a total of 35 new artists each year!

One exhibit that totally absorbed us for quite some time was the photography of Anne Noggle. This pilot (Women’s Airforce Service Pilot in WWII), artist, photographer, writer, and poet didn’t begin her artistic endeavors until being invalided out of the Air Force at the age of 37! She began college the next year and said when she saw her first photo emerge in the developing tank she knew she had found something as exciting and mysterious as flying. One of her passions was to depict aging and aged people as real, valuable, and sexy. This included many self portraits as well as photos of friends, relatives and strangers. I can’t begin to recap all we learned about her, but encourage you to read about her.

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Here are a few other highlights from the New Mexico Museum of Art.

At the end of our visit we were feeling artistic and I wanted to recreate Nude Descending a Staircase, but decorum prevailed.

Jean Descending a Staircase

Jean Descending a Staircase

That has exhausted my writing energy and I haven’t mentioned the sculptures we saw, another gallery visited, or the wonderful street vendor carnitas we had for lunch.

Tomorrow is another day!


About Paul

I'm retired, but working at painting, photography, and song writing. We like to travel and paint plein air in new places. Of course that's also where photography comes into the picture, so to speak. Sometimes I get inspired to write songs about the people and places we visit.
This entry was posted in Art, New Mexico, Retirement, Santa Fe, Travel, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Nothing is less real than realism – Georgia O’Keeffe, 1965

  1. Jean-Paul Dumont says:

    I love Jean descending a staircase; very interesting take off on Duchamp.
    As for the two scenes 1925 and 1959, the earliest version is so much more satisfying than the edulcorated later version.
    I also like the trees.
    The only think I did not get was where this museum can be found.
    I see you continue enjoying yourselves; is this reasonable?
    Abrazos, JP

  2. Can’t say I’m not envious but…we stay-at-homes had the first Copper River salmon of the run for dinner. Love, ace & marco

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