September 30, 2023

For nearly 25 years, Georgia O’Keeffe, an iconic American modernist painter, has been honored in a museum no bigger than two tennis courts.

Now the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, NM is planning a move that will cost between $ 60 million and $ 65 million and, when completed, will nearly triple the gallery space from about 5,000 square feet to 13,000 square feet.

“Our collection has grown and the new, much larger facility will allow us to show more of it,” said Cody Hartley, director of the museum since 2019, in an interview on Friday.

The current facility, which opened in 1997, originally housed a collection of 40 O’Keeffe paintings. The museum has always looked for expansion, Hartley said, but over the years the museum’s permanent collection grew to more than 3,000 works – the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation donated 981 additional items in 2006, the year it was closed. It became clear that moving would be a better option.

In 2018, museum officials identified a 54,000-square-foot building only about 500 feet from its current location to serve as the new location. The large room, which used to be a Safeway grocery store, now houses the museum’s education center. Eighty percent of the estimated cost has already been promised, Hartley said. The main donor is Anne Burnett Windfohr Marion, a prominent Texas rancher, oiler, and art patron who died last year. She had helped found the museum.

New York City’s Gluckman Tang Architects, who designed the original museum and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, will oversee the project. The new room is scheduled to open in 2024.

O’Keeffe, who died in 1986, spent the summers of her childhood in Santa Fe and lived there for the last few years of her life. The museum is the largest publicly accessible collection of her works and one of the few museums in the country dedicated to an artist.