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Art & Culture

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Home & Studio

15.02.2018

“I feel at home here – I feel quiet – my skin feels close to the earth when I walk out into the red hills as I did last night – my cat following like a dog.”

 

We flew into Santa Fe Municipal Airport as the evening sun splashed across the windows and walls of the terminal. Everything so phenomenally colourful as we drove the one road into town towards the El Rey Inn. After sun fall we sat on the porch of our apartment, eating ice cream and listening to the water fountain droplets mixing with the freeway traffic.

The lizards darted between the rocks.

We hung out in Santa Fe; ate guacamole and drank margaritas, shopped for antiques and oddities, and got lost in the history of what is the oldest capital city in North America.

We visited Georgia O’Keeffe’s home on Palvadera Drive in Abiqui, northwest of Santa Fe up Route 84. As a true champion of modernism and often coined the ‘mother of American modernism’ O’Keeffe spent the last twenty years of her life in Abiqui but had visited the region to paint sporadically since the late-1920’s.

 

“It took me ten years to get it. They wouldn’t sell… but I kept trying.”

A true style icon, O’Keeffe altered her East Coast style to tow the line with the common cowgirl staples of New Mexico, minus “the extremes of western chic”, a style approach that saw her described as a “regional modernist” by Wanda M. Corn.

Her Abiqui home is preserved exactly as she left it; a sanctuary of peaceful meditation and prolific indoor / outdoor creativity.

With a level of expertise rarely seen or celebrated, O’Keeffe Cultivated fresh produce, flowers, vegetables and fruit trees uncommon to such arid desert landscapes. The gardens still flourish. This made for a level of self-sufficiency that allowed O’Keeffe to live with her work, amidst her favourite terrain.

This is precisely where our fasciation with O’Keeffe began. Not just her inspired paintings, but the way in which the lines blurred between her work, her home and her subject matter. A way of life that provoked extreme levels of creation and immense wellbeing.

This unique way of life inspired not only the trip, we had to witness it first hand, but subsequently large swathes of Las Casas. You could call it a pilgrimage, it certainly felt that way.