The New Mexico Museum of Art is the oldest art museum in the state. It was founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico. Housed in a spectacular Pueblo Revival building, it is a masterpiece of Pueblo Revival architecture, and the best representation of the synthesis of Native American and Spanish colonial design style. It was designed by I. H. and William M. Rapp and was based on their New Mexico building at the Panama-California Exposition (1915). The museum's architecture inaugurated what has come to be known as "Santa Fe Style." For more than 90 years, the Museum has collected and exhibited work by leading artists from New Mexico and elsewhere.
The museum has more than 20,000 works of American and European art in its collection, including paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, photographs, new media, and conceptual works. Its collection focuses on American art with an emphasis on artists working in the Southwest, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Weston, Laura Gilpin, Agnes Martin, Luis Jimenez, Luis Tapia, Bruce Nauman, Meridel Rubenstein, and Ana Mendieta among others.
Highlights of the collections are extensive holdings of the Cinco Pintores; the Taos Society of Artists, including Robert Henri and John Sloan; the largest collection of Gustave Baumann; the Lucy Lippard Collection; major American photographers, including the Jane Reese Williams Collection of women photographers; new media, including video installations; and an important collection of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings.
The architecture of St. Francis Auditorium, part of the museum, was inspired by Spanish colonial churches. The auditorium is also a venue for other outstanding performance groups and lectures on art and culture. It seats 435 and houses the large historical McNary pipe organ and a stage.
The New Mexico Museum of Art brings the art of New Mexico to the world and the art of the world to New Mexico.