Friends of American Art Trip to Santa Fe

In early April, twenty-one members of the Friends of American Art, led by Curator of American Art Dr. Katelyn Crawford and Deputy Director Meghan Ann Hellenga, enjoyed a glorious early spring week in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Our hotel “La Fonda” is simply the Grande Dame of Santa Fe’s hotels. Located at the terminus of the Santa Fe Trail, it is a charming Pueblo Revival structure inspired by the adobe architecture of the indigenous Pueblo peoples.

Our trip began with a delicious welcome dinner to fortify us for our compelling itinerary packed with intriguing sights and experiences. The following morning, we walked to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum — one of our country’s most influential artists known for her groundbreaking use of abstraction, dramatically modern compositions and exquisite sense of the beauty of natural world. We toured several other museums that day and took a bus to the Allan Houser Sculpture Garden, where we viewed the work of this renowned sculptor, painter and teacher. Located on a fifteen-acre site with panoramic mountain vistas, the gardens included monumental works by Houser and a gallery displaying paintings and watercolors that have made him one of the most respected modernist sculptors of his time and one of the premier Native American artists of the twentieth century.

We had the good fortune of being in Santa Fe at the same time friend and former BMA Board member, Beverly Erdreich was having an exhibit at the Center for Contemporary Arts. From Goya to Erdreich was inspired by- Disasters of War: a series of eighty-two prints created between 1810 and 1820 by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. Goya is known for cataloging the brutality and fatal consequences of war in a stark, confrontational and unflinching manner. Beverly is known for lyrical abstract canvases. For this series, however, she was moved by the violence and destruction in the United States as catalogued nightly in the evening news. Her drawings are created atop reproductions of Goya’s powerful compositions bringing the stinging brutality of nineteenth century atrocities into a modern context.

We took the high road to Taos where we visited a Museum featuring the Taos Society of Artists and the Taos Moderns, a gallery, the studio of a jeweler, and enjoyed a delicious lunch before making our way to the Couse-Sharpe Historic Site, where we were met by the Executive Director and Curator who was very enthusiastic about the Taos Society and two of its founding members Joseph Henry Sharp and E. Irving Couse. A quick trip to the Millicent Rogers Museum and cocktails at Sculptor Susan Folwell’s home and studio, a magnificent contemporary Southwestern home with Pueblo style cues, modem surface treatments and extensive use of glass and wood vigas completed our time in Taos.

The entire trip was an epicurean’s delight with one remarkable meal after the other all accompanied by wines selected by our sommelier David Hezlep.

With bags packed we boarded the bus for our last adventure, a visit to Abiquiu, the principle residence and studio of Georgia O’Keefe. A single story adobe structure, largely built in the traditional style. It had a flat roof and thick walls but also incorporated some modernist elements such as large picture windows that provided expansive views of the surrounding landscape and the natural light artists love.