BOSTON — Georgia O'Keeffe first became smitten with New Mexico's vast landscape and brilliant light 80 years ago.
"From then on, I was always on my way back," the artist later said.
Although Ms. O'Keeffe, a Wisconsin native who lived for many years in New York City, didn't settle in New Mexico permanently until 1949, she reflected the area in canvas after canvas of her work since that first introduction.
So it's fitting that tomorrow, a museum dedicated to the internationally recognized painter and pioneer of Modernism is opening in Santa Fe. It will house the largest public collection of her works - almost 90 paintings, watercolors, drawings, pastels, and sculptures.
"Her art, I think, resonates with the obvious affection, the joy that the landscape and objects of the West ... gave her, and which she in return gives back to us," says museum director Peter Hassrick.
The inaugural exhibition includes 117 works, some of which the artist kept during her lifetime and seldom exhibited.
The museum was founded by Anne and John Marion, major benefactors of the arts in Santa Fe.
I have picked flowers where I found them - have picked up sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood.... When I found the beautiful white bones on the desert I picked them up and took them home too.... I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.
- Georgia O'Keeffe