Adobe, sky, and bones at Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu home

4 months ago 71
September 27, 2022

This clip around, I knew to reserve tickets months successful beforehand for a guided circuit of Georgia O’Keeffe’s location and studio successful Abiquiú, New Mexico, astir an hr northwest of Santa Fe. I arrived astatine midday connected August 30th, funny to cognize what I mightiness larn astir the iconic artist. But first, clouds and an adobe wall.

In the Patio VIII by Georgia O’Keeffe

Not the aforesaid wall, and not the aforesaid clouds. And yet seeing her location causes a unreserved of designation erstwhile viewing her paintings again.

O’Keeffe’s location astatine Abiquiú was her wintertime home. In summers she relocated to Ghost Ranch, 12 miles away. “Though breathtakingly situated,” explains the O’Keeffe Museum, “O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch location was not suitable for her to unrecorded successful year-round. O’Keeffe purchased a larger home, successful the colony of Abiquiú, for its well-irrigated plot and the comfortableness it offered successful winter.” A well-irrigated plot — a worthy dream! She lived present from 1949 until 1984.

Our usher led america archetypal into the backyard, wherever bleached antlers connected an aged stump callback O’Keeffe’s antler and bony paintings.

We viewed the ample garden, wherever rows of vegetables and effect trees erstwhile supplied the bulk of the nutrient for her kitchen.

An acequia supplies h2o to the plot still.

A large representation model offers a peek into O’Keeffe’s modernist surviving room, implicit with a steadfast jade works enjoying the light. Her postulation of rocks lines a heavy windowsill. We’d circuit the interior later, but this country is off-limits to visitors to support its fragile adobe floor.

A constrictive transition leads from the plot into an interior courtyard, oregon the patio arsenic O’Keeffe called it.

Bundled maize adorns a wall.

That passageway arsenic seen from wrong the courtyard

Straight ahead, different doors connection introduction into the rambling adobe house. “The oldest rooms of the location were astir apt built successful 1744. The location was expanded successful the 19th period into a pueblo-style adobe (mud brick) hacienda, with rows of rooms organized astir a communal unfastened space, or plazuela,” the museum website explains. The spot laic successful ruin erstwhile O’Keeffe purchased it, and she spent respective years restoring it from the crushed up.

In the patio courtyard, a acheronian doorway (at left) mesmerized the creator — a doorway she would extremity up coating again and again. “As I climbed and walked astir successful the ruin,” O’Keeffe recalled, according to the website, “I recovered a patio with a precise beauteous good location and bucket to gully up water. It was a good-sized patio with a agelong partition with a doorway connected 1 side. That partition with a doorway successful it was thing I had to have.’”

Our usher pulled retired a laminated reproduction of O’Keeffe’s In the Patio II to amusement america however the creator had abstracted the doorway and wall.

From this…

In the Patio II by Georgia O’Keeffe

…to this, hanging successful Santa Fe’s New Mexico Museum of Art, wherever we’d spot it the adjacent day.

Just past the partition with the door, a portal decorated with a cervid skull and antlers, pottery, and much of O’Keeffe’s rocks leads from the courtyard to the exterior via a woody door.


A partial bighorn sheep skull balances connected a stone atop a post.

Mudded into an adobe wall, a small look peeps out.

We entered different courtyard, with a gated opening to the drive.

If you exit done that gate, this is the presumption backmost in.

Now we were invited inside, into the kitchen. Storage niches had been carved retired of the adobe walls.

My regard was drawn retired a room model toward a debased partition and a view-blocking juniper and tiny tree. I asked if the plot remained arsenic it was successful O’Keeffe’s clip and was told yes. Times change, don’t they? I americium someway amazed that O’Keeffe would not person preferred elegant and compact autochthonal plants to specified over-pruned, out-of-place shrubs.

From the room we could presumption 2 off-limits rooms, some with adobe earthen floors. I can’t callback what this country was utilized for. Perhaps herb-drying and storage?

The different off-limits abstraction begins with a elemental eating country with a insubstantial Isamu Noguchi airy that helium talented to O’Keeffe.

Beyond the eating country you tin spot into the modernist surviving room, with its large representation model and skylight. Adobe floors tally throughout.

A cascading fern and copper kettle successful the airy of a window

The surviving room, with its presumption of an past tamarisk histrion — however I wanted to measurement into this abstraction and look around.

Back outside, wherever potted plants casually thin atop histrion stump pedestals

Next we saw O’Keeffe’s wintertime studio, a large, achromatic country with an tremendous representation model that instantly draws the eye.

The model makes you consciousness a portion of the bluish New Mexico landscape.

Cattle horns remainder gracefully connected a heavy windowsill.

In a country by the window, a workplace furniture with a spartan coverlet overlooks the epic view.

Another window, curtained, offers a narrower portion of the chaparral.

Bundled feathers connected the wall

Outside, much of O’Keeffe’s stone postulation adorns a level stone pointing similar an arrow astatine a distant mountain.

A country model into O’Keeffe’s nun-like chamber (not unfastened to visitors) offers a ghostly presumption of her achromatic furniture and lamp with reflected reddish cliffs and greenish chaparral.

Tree rings

O’Keeffe’s location crouches astatine the borderline of a steep mesa, overlooking a greenish vale below.

Our usher lasting successful beforehand of the roadworthy that inspired O’Keeffe’s Winter Road I

Just beneath the house, a curving, two-lane roadworthy slices done the trees earlier tapering astir different hill. O’Keeffe wrote astir this roadworthy and painted it:

“Two walls of my country successful the Abiquiú location are solid and from 1 model I spot the roadworthy toward Espanola, Santa Fe, and the world. The roadworthy fascinates maine with its ups and downs and yet its wide expanse arsenic it speeds toward the partition of my hilltop to spell past me. I had made 2 oregon 3 snaps of it with a camera. For 1 of them I turned the camera astatine a crisp space to get each the road. It was accidental that I made the roadworthy look to basal up successful the air, but it amused me, and I began drafting and coating it arsenic a caller shape. The trees and mesa beside it were unimportant for that painting—it was conscionable the road.”

Seeing the places that O’Keeffe saw connected a regular basis, that she studied and tried to seizure again and again successful her paintings, gave maine caller penetration into her work. Now I was seeing her paintings everywhere, adjacent successful the parking batch down the visitant center, wherever this massive, furrowed cottonwood stretches its limbs skyward.

Cottonwood Tree (Near Abiquiu), New Mexico by Georgia O’Keeffe

Up next: The Taos adobe religion that O’Keeffe painted and the vertigo-inducing Rio Grande Gorge Bridge conscionable northbound of Taos. For a look backmost astatine Santa Fe’s colorful assemblage and depository creation and architecture, click here.

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