Sampling Santa Fe’s colorful art and architecture

September 22, 2022

Santa Fe tops my list as one of the most beautiful cities in America. I love the warm adobe walls that blend with the earth and shine against a bright blue sky; the abundance of public art that speaks to nature and indigenous culture found around the city; And the city’s human, walkable scale. You can easily walk from your Airbnb or hotel to the plaza and find so much, yet return to your own space for an afternoon rest before dinner. And temperatures in late August, when Austin is in the endurance phase of summer, are delightfully refreshing, with highs around 80F, low humidity and lows in the 50s. Ahhh.

Today I’ll be sharing photos from our explorations around the city, as well as a few art exhibits we particularly enjoyed while there last month. Above is the vibrantly painted arcade along the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.

A Bill Orrell sculpture, Scotch Broom in Flower, outside the Orrell Gallery

An epic rider appears to be leaping over pink hollyhocks.

Let’s take another look at those gorgeous beauties.

Chris Roberts-Antieau at Antieau Gallery

Turning from the main plaza, a gray satin dress hanging in a gallery window stopped us in our tracks. Delicately embroidered with detailed scenes of wildlife (and death), it made us wonder — is it a work of art or a fashion piece?

Maybe both! We stepped inside for a closer look.

The embroidery is the work of Michigan-based textile artist Chris Roberts-Antieau Gallery.

The birds and the bees

Most of her work for sale at her namesake gallery (there’s another in New Orleans) is a combination of “fabric paintings,” embroidery and applique.


Jazz artists feature prominently in some of his works.

artificial flowers

Among others, animals, plants and a solitary woman dominate the dreamlike, sometimes dark, sometimes whimsical imagery.

painted horse

Up close you see the thread texture and design. I found them fascinating.

Phantom Limb II

His work is very popular and fetches high prices. Larger pieces like this (a limited series) have been listed for $35K to $45K. We admired them and left with a new appreciation for fabric painting.

street view

Paper flowers and ceramic peppers make a lovely scene outside The Rainbow Man Shop, where we picked up a few small souvenirs.

Dried chillies hang outside another shop. Ristorantes are popular decorations for garden gates, doors and walls in Santa Fe.

Gustav Baumann at Owings Gallery

Silver Sky

E. At The Wings Gallery on Mersey Street, I fell in love with Gustav Baumann’s colorful woodblock prints. It goes for $35,000, otherwise it must be mine.

Old Santa Fe

“Born in Germany in 1881, Baumann immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. After a short time in Chicago, Baumann moved to Brown County, Indiana in 1910. Baumann first moved to New Mexico in 1918 and moved to New Mexico full time in 1919. New Baumann’s images of Mexico have become iconic scenes of Santa Fe and are highly sought after. By collectors. The images shown here represent our current inventory of Baumann prints and drawings.”

Cottonwood in Tassels

I settled for a pack of notecards with Bauman’s photos, but if you have a chance, go and see his original work.

New Mexico Museum of Art

One day we visited the New Mexico Museum of Art, housed in a century-old adobe structure off the main plaza. A central courtyard with flowering perennials and grasses, a small lawn and a stone pillar fountain create a wonderful resting place.

Everything seems to shine in Santa Fe. The light there is really beautiful.

The Voice of the Water

Four Will Shuster frescoes – where paint pigment mixes with wet plaster, becoming part of the wall – adorn the walls of the courtyard. my dear The Voice of the Water.

Snake Dance, Oraibi

Among the collections inside the museum, several paintings depicting the traditional Hopi snake dance caught my eye. this Snake Dance, Oraibi By Joseph Imhoff.

Snake Dancer

And here Snake Dancer By Tom Lea.

Courtyard II

Although we didn’t make it to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum this time, we did enjoy one of O’Keefe’s works, Courtyard II, at NMMA. We saw the original patio door represented here at his home in Abiquiu during the tour earlier in the day. I will share about that soon.

Seated Najavo woman

By RC Gorman Seated Najavo woman Resting against an adobe wall in a small courtyard.

A natural work of art — an agave spotted while walking through our Airbnb.

One late afternoon we drove 30 minutes up the winding Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway for sunset views from the Vista Grande Overlook observation site. Santa Fe sparkled like a jewel box in the Rio Grande Valley below us.

Next: A tour of Georgia O’Keefe’s home, studio and garden in Abiquiu. To look back at Part 2 of my visit to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, click here.

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dig deep

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All material © 2022 by Pam Penick for Excavation. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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