The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has purchased the American artist’s “Ritz Tower” painting, a rare work of her take on a New York skyscraper, the museum announced this week.

Officials at the Santa Fe, New Mexico, museum said it bought the 1928 piece in October from a private collector but declined to say how much it cost. 

Last year, the museum sold three of the artist’s lesser works for $19.5 million to add to its acquisition fund.

The slender painting is one of O’Keeffe’s rare depictions of skyscrapers in New York City.

Throughout the 1920s, O’Keeffe lived in New York with her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. 

Work fills museum gap 

O’Keeffe created the image after her male peers discouraged her from painting New York subjects. “The men decided they didn’t want me to paint New York … They told me to ‘leave New York to the men.’ I was furious!” O’Keeffe said years later.

Museum curator Ariel Plotek said the work fills a hole in its collection since O’Keeffe painted few New York skyscraper scenes.

“It is a dynamic, glamorous portrayal,” Plotek said. “O’Keeffe effectively rendered the spirit of the city by making it a night scene teeming with energy. She used the bright punches of electric light, the soaring architecture, and the glow of the moon to great effect.”

Painting will be on view March 1

Ritz Tower will be on view in the museum’s galleries beginning on March 1.

Wisconsin-born O’Keeffe, known for her modernist and surreal images of the American Southwest, lived and painted for decades in Abiquiu, New Mexico. 

She died in Santa Fe in 1986.


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