Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Abiquiu home + studio of artist Georgia O'Keeffe

My yesterday's post reminded me of other Georgia O'Keeffe links in my files, for example, an Architectural Digest feature from 1981, when they visited the artist in her adobe home and studio in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The house sits on a plateau overlooking the Chama River Valley in Rio Arriba County. Her other house was the Ghost Ranch, located further north. Both houses are owned by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe (the above image is theirs). The Abiquiu house is open to the public so if you visit the museum in Santa Fe, don't miss the chance to view this place, which has been kept as it was when O'Keeffe died in 1986.

The interior is a stylish, minimalist, Mid-Century modern design, where you will find some of her paintings and sculptures, Alexander Girard textiles (the designer was her friend) and her classic Womb Chair (an Eero Saarinen design for Florence Knoll). You will also find stones, skulls and bones on display.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) in 1981

When O'Keeffe bought the Abiquiu house in 1945 it was in ruins and not a single room was inhabitable (she first saw it in 1930 and made many attempts to buy it). O’Keeffe supervised the restoration of the house, which took four years, and it was her friend Maria Chabot who carried it out. To preserve the original house, existing structures were used to build new adobe walls (mud dried in the sun, mixed with straw) and stucco was used over the adobe, as rain will eventually wash it away. The only alteration she made was opening up some of the walls to have a view of the valley and mountains, the inspiration for her landscape paintings.
The view from O'Keeffe's studio. The dark ceramic forms are by Juan Hamilton

Her painting White Patio with Red Door, 1960, in the sitting room, one of her many door paintings

Natural home décor in the sitting room, among other things, a rattlesnake skeleton

The Indian Room derives its name from the narrow adobe ledges,
which the early Indian inhabitants used as beds

The minimalist bedroom. 'I haven’t anything you can get along without,' said the artist

O'Keeffe's cast-epoxy sculpture, Abstraction, 1945, in the Roofless Room

Before creating this post I added a few books from my wish list to my Amazon page for anyone interested in Georgia O'Keeffe, her houses and life. If you want to know more about her houses there is a book called Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Houses: Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu by Barbara Buhler Lynes and Judy Lopez that contains plenty of photographs. I have heard plenty of praises for the biography Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life by Roxana Robinson. And if you enjoy books that contain personal letters you may want to read My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz by Sarah Greenough.

An old doorway, the former main entrance. Beams were used to strengthen the adobe construction

This photo shows a pathway in O’Keeffe’s patio. The curvy, sculptural-like
architecture is also visible

photo credit:
1: Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / 2-11: Mary E. Nichols for Architectural Digest, first published in the July 1981 issue

1 comment:

  1. An absolutely wonderful post, Lisa! I had a feeling I haven't yet seen everything related to Georgia O'Keeffe on your blog after yesterday's post. :) This kind of minimalism in interior design, often austere, always intrigues me. I see it as the ideal studio for her work.


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