While the White Place has of course been there for
geological times it did not become what we today consider
the "Plaza Blanca" until it was made famous by the paintings
of O'Keeffe, and she did not arrive in the area until 1929,
but at first she did not live in the area and only visited
for part of the year.
As early as her first visit in 1929 she was already
enthralled by the light and shapes both natural and
artificial in the NM desert. Ranchos Church,
No. II, NM, 1929, Oil on canvas is a good example of this.
Quickly she also discovered amazing outcroppings of dark
rock which she named "Black Place" as in her Black Mesa
Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Marie's II, 1930, oil
So when she finally found Plaza Blanca near what was to
become her home in Abiquiu, it was natural that by contrast
it should be called The White Place. It was first in
From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas, that she
showcased the amazing forms of this area.