The collections of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum explore her role in the development of the art of her time. When the Museum opened in 1997, its collection of 116 works included 94 by O’Keeffe. In the last 10 years, the collection has grown steadily with the extraordinary help and continuing generosity of The Burnett Foundation as well as the support of many individual donors, whose gifts include works by O’Keeffe as well as works by a number of her contemporaries.
In 2006, the collection expanded dramatically when The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation transferred its remaining artworks to the Museum. This included 981 works by O’Keeffe: 163 finished paintings, drawings, and sculptures; 669 sketches; and 149 photographs by O’Keeffe. It also included 1,770 photographs by various professional photographers – of O’Keeffe, important events in her life, her animals and friends, New Mexico houses, and the subjects she painted.
The heart of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s collection is the art and art materials of O’Keeffe, which comprise 140 of her oil paintings, more than 100 watercolors, and multiple casts of three different sculpture designs. Our unique treasure is the two homes in northern New Mexico where the artist lived and worked for more than forty years along with their modernist furnishings and other contents reflecting her day-to-day life. From her two studios, we hold a collection of nearly 700 drawings, hundreds of her paint brushes specifically trimmed to accommodate her distinctive style, as well as an array of her art supplies such as her easels, paints, pastels, and charcoal. Our diverse collection also comprises more than 2,000 photographs (O’Keeffe is the subject of most of them, but some are by the artist) including more than a score by her husband Alfred Stieglitz. In addition to our focus on O’Keeffe, we have acquired 20 paintings, drawings, and sculpture by other artists.
The Museum’s archival collections also have grown substantially since 1997 and are housed at its Research Center. In 1999, the Museum received a gift from Juan and Anna Marie Hamilton of the tangible, person property that was owned by O’Keeffe at the time of her death. These materials include, among other things, the library from O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch house, her art materials, her clothes, and the collections of found objects that she often made the subject of her work. In addition, the Museum has received the archive of the distinguished scholar William Innes Homer; the papers of O’Keeffe’s friend Maria Chabot; more than 600 original O’Keeffe letters; and the extensive archive of materials included in the transfer of assets from The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation.