SANTA FE, NM.-
The Georgia OKeeffe Museum
presents an exhibition that includes a number of paintings designated as partial gifts to the Museum by an anonymous New Mexico collector. Since moving to Santa Fe eleven years ago and acquiring his first New Mexico picture at a local gallery, the owner of this collection has passionately pursued his love of American Modernism by collecting works that creatively engage the areas distinctive environments, landmarks, and residents. The Georgia OKeeffe Museum is delighted to be able to exhibit this superb selection, which demonstrates the richly productive encounter between some of America s most innovative twentieth-century painters and one of their favorite sources of inspiration New Mexico . The exhibition includes works by various modern artists, most of whom arrived in the southwest after 1912, when New Mexico, which had been a territory, attained statehood: George Wesley Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, Robert Henri, Edward Hopper, Raymond Jonson, John Marin, Georgia OKeeffe, and John Sloan.
It is very fitting that the Museum displays these magnificent works while the entire state is celebrating Santa Fe s 400th anniversary, stated Barbara Buhler Lynes , Curator, Georgia OKeeffe Museum and the Emily Fisher Landau Director, Georgia OKeeffe Museum Research Center. And, we are especially delighted to have several of these works in our collection, not only because of their inherent significance, but also because they greatly enhance our ability to fulfill one of the Museums fundamental objectives: to organize exhibitions of OKeeffes contemporaries that shed light on the history of American Modernism, a phenomenon that began in America in the 1890s and continues into the present.
In 1916, the painter Robert Henri left New York for the first of three visits to Santa Fe in search of new artistic inspiration. He did so at a pivotal moment in the early history of American Modernism, during the Great War and amid the aftermath of the sensational Armory Show in New York , when many of his compatriots were responding inventively to the aesthetic challenge posed by the European avant-garde. Captivated by the beautiful, unfamiliar western places and peoples of New Mexico , Henri encouraged two close friends and colleagues, George Bellows and John Sloan, to follow his lead. Before long, many American Modernists had trekked to New Mexico as well, including Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Stuart Davis, Georgia OKeeffe, and Edward Hopper. Some visited only once or stayed for just a short time, while others, notably OKeeffe and Sloan, became longtime residents; for all of these American Modernists, though, visiting and picturing New Mexico became an artistic rite of passage of sorts a catalyst for aesthetic reinvention.
Some of the pictures in the exhibition clearly represent specific people and sites, as in Robert Henris Julianita, 1922, John Sloans La Cienega (1923), and two paintings of the Santuario de Chimayó by George Bellows (1917) and Joseph Bakos (1935), respectively. Other works evoke New Mexico in a more general way, as in Andrew Dasburgs Mountain Landscape, 1923, and Thomas Hart Bentons Train on the Desert (1926 or 1927). Still others such as Stuart Daviss Interior, New Mexico (1923), Raymond Jonsons Oil No. 5 (1940), and Georgia OKeeffes Black Place IV (1944) approach particular people and places with an abstracting vision so personal as to transform the subject into a vehicle of private expression and formal experimentation. In every case, though, New Mexico provided the artist with a distinctive creative point of departure a compelling array of subjects, forms, and colors that revitalized the creative process. Even realism achieved an innovative Modernist edge in works such as Edward Hoppers Adobe Houses (1925), which depicts characteristic New Mexico architecture and scenery with subtle attention to basic underlying shapes, arranged like so many abstract building blocks. Regardless of an artists particular style then, the Modernist approach revealed New Mexico s essential beauty.
Modernists in New Mexico: Works from a Private Collection was organized by the Georgia OKeeffe Museum. This exhibition was made possible in part by a generous grant from The Burnett Foundation. Additional support for this exhibition and for related programs has been received from The Kerr Foundation, the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission and 1% Lodgers Tax, New Mexico Tourism Department, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Presidents Committee on the Art and the Humanities, the MSST Foundation, the Livingry Fund in the Tides Foundation, the Just Woke Up Fund in the Santa Fe Community Foundation, the Marineau Family Foundation, the Kaiserman-Robinson Family, the BF Foundation, Gerald and Katie Peters, Angie and Joe Thompson, and the Members of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.