In the 1950s, as American abstraction began to get international attention, O’Keeffe started to paint large images of the black door, wall, and paving stones of her Abiquiu patio at different times of day and in different sessions. Some were quite abstract while others were more grounded in nature. She also took photographs of the door. It became a serial motif for her and linked her practice in New Mexico with that of younger New York abstract painters, such as Mark Rothko and Elleworth Kelly, who created multiple works around a repeated form.
O’Keeffe clearly admired the formal qualities of the wooden patio door, and frequently recounted its importance to her in finding and renovating the Albiquiu house.
"That wall with a door in it was something I had to have. It took me ten years to get it—three more years to fix the house so I could live in it—and after that the wall with a door was painted many times."