Happy birthday to Agnes

Chef Rene at Ranchos Trading Post Cafe

Picture taken from


Agnes Martin’s 100th Birthday

As part of the Remarkable Women of Taos celebration, the Harwood Museum of Art has planned a series of events and exhibitions to celebrate the centennial of Agnes Martin’s birth. Among them is a fundraising event at the Ranchos Trading Post Cafe on March 22 at 6 p.m. The restaurant was chosen because of the long and deep connection that the artist had with it. She had a special place there, both physically (a table in the patio) and in its owner’s heart.

“Agnes started coming into our restaurant the day we opened it, in October 1994,” said Kimberly Armstrong, owner of the Trading Post Café. “She liked to talk to me and spoke often of her art and the things that inspired her, like the light here, nature in itself…even waking up in the morning was an inspiration to her!”

Martin had few close friends, and Armstrong feels honored to have been one of them. They would take trips together once a month and visited the sand dunes,Farmington, Corrales, and Ghost Ranch. “It was a pleasure to travel with her,” said Armstrong. “She saw life with the eyes of an artist, and transmitted that feeling too.”

Martin drove to the Trading Post Café by herself and usually dined alone. “She loved food,” said Armstrong. “She would have fillets and all kinds of red meat, fish, tomatoes…She also liked to have a glass of red wine every day with her lunch.”

When Martin could no longer drive, she would have people bring her to the restaurant, but she still went there every day.

Armstrong’s husband, Rene Mettler, a chef at Trading Post Café, played a big role in this relationship. “She was enthralled with his culinary expertise and they would sit and have red wine together,” said Armstrong.

The Harwood Museum of Art approached Armstrong last year when the whole event was just coming together because they knew Martin’s connection with the restaurant. “We were so pleased,” said Armstrong. “She was a lovely soul and we were very fortunate to have her in our lives. I am happy to share all these wonderful memories with the community.”

The birthday party it is not going to be a typical sit-down dinner but a social affair. “There will be different stations (a carving station, a pasta station and many more) so people will interact with each other and with the food,” explained Armstrong. There will be music, too. Agnes Martin will be represented in a variety of ways, like a beautiful cake for her 100 birthday.

The next day, Friday, March 23, the film “Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World” will be shown at the Museum at 7 p.m., followed by a discussion. On Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Harwood will also present a day-long lecture program featuring scholars and artists focusing on the life and work of Agnes Martin. The whole series is a unique celebration for the Canadian-born painter who lovedTaos, its color, light and foods.


Advance tickets for the Agnes Martin Centennial Birthday Party are available at the Museum Admissions. For more information, contact development@harwoodmuseum.org.

Or call 575-758-9826