Bell Cross Ranchos Churc, New Mexico, 1930 by Georgia O'Keeffe

Whilst the Midwest remained the spiritual home of the Regionalists, some artists set up shop a little further south. In 1929 the former New York socialite Mabel Dodge invited Georgia O'Keeffe to spend the summer at her ranch at Taos, New Mexico. O'Keeffe was not the first artist to travel to the Southwest. Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) and John Marin ( 1870-1953) had been earlier guests at Dodge's ranch. What inspired these artists were the luminosity of the New Mexico desert, the striking forms of the indigenous adobe architecture, the local culture of the native Pueblo community and a sense of being in touch with a mythic, spiritual existence untouched by modernity, In Taos, O'Keeffe, further developed the modernist style with which she had built her reputation in New York, painting a whole series of New Mexico motifs, including adobe buildings, bleached-out animal skulls found in the desert, and the local churches of the Christian missionaries.

Many of O'Keeffe's works, like Bell-Cross Ranchos Church, are characterized by their use of bold forms and sharp contrasts of colour, typical of both the landscape itself and the indigenous Pueblo arts and crafts.