Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - Private Museums


In addition to the four Museums of New Mexico, we also visited three private museums. Of these the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is the best known and was my favorite. The others were the Wheelwright Museum and the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum.


Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
217 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico

John and Anne Marion and the Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation opened the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum on July 17, 1997 in Santa Fe -- 80 years after Georgia O'Keeffe first visited New Mexico. While the museum is private, it is promoted through the Museums of New Mexico and shares its library and educational staff.

At age 62, Georgia O'Keeffe left New York City and moved permanently to Abiquiu, New Mexico. Three years before her death in 1986 -- months short of age 100 -- she moved to Santa Fe.

The exhibit I saw was Georgia O'Keeffe: The Poetry of Things, which was organized by the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, and the Dallas Museum of Art.

The exhibition filled seven of the museum's nine galleries, with 70 paintings, sculptures and works on paper from 27 institutions and seven private collections around the country.

[I kept wondering why this painting or that was here. After all I'd just seen it a few weeks before at the Phillips Gallery in DC. Finally I remembered that the Phillips was closed for renovation and had put all its Georgia O'Keeffe works into this exhibition.]

I am holding one of two Georgia O'Keeffe prints I bought.


September 14, 1999


Courtesy IAIA


Institute of American Indian Arts Museum
108 Cathedral Pl.
Santa Fe, NM

The IAIA Museum, curated by American Indians, shows Indian art through Indian eyes.

One of the highlights of the Museum's collection is the National Collection of Contemporary Indian Art. This collection is the single largest contemporary collection of its kind, representing a hundred tribal nations in the United States.


Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
704 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian is privately owned, and is located next to the Museum of International Folk Art. Its exhibits change about every four months.

Among the displays are pottery, jewelry, rugs, baskets, and sand paintings. The octagonal museum is constructed in the form of a Navajo hogan, with its door facing east to greet the sun.

It was founded in 1937 by Mary Cabot Wheelwright and Navajo shaman Hastiin Klah to help preserve Navajo spiritual beliefs.


September 15, 1999


September 15, 1999

Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
704 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Some of the works I most enjoyed were the sculpture pieces in the museum's patio. Outdoors sculptures by Allan Houser and others.

(The museum's collection, which began with Navajo material such as sand-painting reproductions, is not currently on display.)


Email: Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten