Georgia O’Keeffe: The Palo Duro Canyon and Santa Fe connection


In May, my husband and I took a road trip to celebrate our 25th anniversary. The first stop on the trip was the Palo Duro Canyon in the panhandle of Texas for a some hiking. While hiking, we were in awe of the beauty that nature composed through the use of the many colors of an artist’s palette. The most striking were the contrasting colors of the red soil and the green of foliage. As we left Palo Duro Canyon to continue our road trip into Santa Fe, NM, the images of the canyon were fresh in our minds.

Upon arriving in Santa Fe, visiting  the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum was at the top of my list of things to see and do. So, after settling in, we headed out to the plaza of Santa Fe and into the museum.  Little did we know we were in for a surprise. As there were many beautiful works of art by O’Keeffe in this museum, the works we were most happy to see were her paintings of the canyon we had just visited.

O’Keeffe, Georgia (1887-1986), Dark Mesa. 1916-1918. Watercolor, 9 in. x 11.75 in. Kemper Museum, Kansas City Art Institute. Bloemink, Barbara J. Georgia O’Keeffe: Canyon Suite, New York: George Braziller, Inc. 1995. 80.

Unknown to us, Georgia O’Keeffe had lived in Canyon, Texas while she taught. During her time in Canyon, she created several abstract watercolors of the canyon. This was a happy discovery to learn that the two destinations on our trip were connected. That, however unexpected, there was a theme to our tour.

The museum has an app that can be downloaded and allows anyone to enjoy a virtual tour of the Georgia O’keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, NM. While I recommend seeing her works in person, this is a good way to learn about her and her works in the meantime.

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to photograph any of her canyon works on display in the Museum, but  other canyon works by O’Keeffe can be seen in a book titled Georgia O’Keeffe: Canyon Suite, which the Hamon Arts Library has in its holdings.

Thank you to LaGail Davis, Manager, General Operations, Hamon, for this contribution.

Featured image

Palo Duro Canyon, image by LaGail Davis


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