Ranchos Church, New Mexico
Oil on canvas
24 1/4 x 36 in.
signed and dated on canvas, in white paint: Georgia O'Keeffe-1930
u.l. in graphite on stretcher: Wickser 4M
u.c. in graphite on original backing board: 547 . 1:58
u.c. in graphite: Ranch church-Grey Sky 1930
u.c. in graphite on frame: O'Keefe [sic]
u.r. in graphite on stretcher: #9
c.l. in black crayon on original backing board: 26.2:39 [see file for photo of original backing board and labels]
l.l. in graphite on frame: Stieglitz's #28
l.l. in graphite on stretcher: #9 #10 #289
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
In 1929, O’Keeffe began spending part of each year in Taos, New Mexico, a favorite destination for artists and tourists who were drawn to the region’s stark topography and its unique intermingling of Indigenous and Hispanic cultures. During her first years in Taos, she gravitated to the city’s most famous Spanish Colonial landmarks, including the San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church, which became one of her favorite subjects to paint.
O’Keeffe preferred to depict the church from the rear, a vantage point that allowed her to explore the blocky, geometric qualities of its adobe walls. Enlarging and exaggerating these forms, she portrayed the church as if it were an organic growth emerging from the earth. In turn, these compositions imbued modernist painting with a distinctly American lineage, suggesting that the foundational shapes and forms of modernism were rooted in the landscapes and buildings of the southwestern United States.
—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)