As Northern New Mexico became a nexus for artists in the early 20th century, an art gallery was needed in the capital city to support and promote the art of the region. In 1917, the Art Gallery that was to become the New Mexico Museum of Art was born, housed in a new building designed to reflect the style of the 300 year-old mission churches at Acoma and other pueblos.
The early Art Gallery’s “open door” policy encouraged artists working in New Mexico to exhibit their work. That welcome, mixed with the excitement about New Mexico that was generated by the tourism industry, enticed artists with formal training from other parts of the country. The resulting blending and cross-influences of Native American, Hispanic, and European-based cultures created a unique body of work that is the basis of the New Mexico Museum of Art collection today.
The New Mexico Museum of Art collection holds 20,000 works. The core of the collection is primarily art from the Southwest, particularly New Mexico. The Museum is the principal repository for art objects of all mediums that have a relationship to the state from the introduction of the railroad to today. The New Mexico Museum of Art collection also includes international art that links the core collection to the West, the Americas, and the World.