Touring the Georgia O’Keeffe home in Abiquiu, New Mexico

Many visitors to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe do not realize that within an hour’s drive you can visit Ghost Ranch or the O’Keeffe home in Abiquiu. Once you have enjoyed the offerings of the museum, a road trip will enhance your enjoyment of the work of Georgia O’Keeffe.

The home in Abiquiu is owned by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. Through the museum you can reserve a tour and be part of a select few who are able to tour the home from early spring through the late fall. Tours last an hour and are limited to 12 people at a time. Tours area available at select times. The cost is $35 per person.

During the non-tour season, private tours of the Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio can be arranged for $100/person by calling 505-685-4539.

Reservation information can be found on the museum website.

Georgia O'Keeffe Home in Abiquiu, NM

Georgia O’Keeffe Home in Abiquiu, NM

Getting to Abiquiu
The village of Abiquiu is not far from Ghost Ranch. It is off I-84. Map Guests meet at the Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio Tour Office next to the Abiquiu Inn and are taken by shuttle to the Abiquiu house. This is a good thing as it’s not easy to find.

Use the restrooms at the Inn before the tour. Also, the Inn has a very good restaurant and gift shop so you might want to enjoy those before or after your tour.

History
The adobe home in the village of Abiquiu has been left much as it was when O’Keeffe lived there. Abiquiu is believed to have been settled by Natives from Mesa Verde who abandoned the area in 1500. By the mid-1700’s, Spain colonized the region by deeding land grants to the Christianized Indians who were affiliated with the Spanish. It is believed that parts of Georgia O’Keeffe’s home may date back to this period, perhaps 1760.

When Georgia O’Keeffe purchased the property in 1945 it was in ruins. The walled compound is set on the edge of a mesa and the view, itself, is worth having a home in that location. Over the next three years, O’Keeffe worked with her friend, Maria Chabot, to renovate the property. She added gardens and innovative architectural detail, all of which you can see on the tour.

She lived there until moving to Santa Fe toward the end of her life in 1984.

What You will See on the Tour
Enter the compound through Ms. O’Keeffe’s garden. You will be told that photography and sketching is not allowed. The home, you will find, is just as she left it in 1984. It is a New Mexico style home with wood ceiling supports called vigas, and in some rooms, mud floors sealed with a flour paste. The central patio has the feeling of living in a fort with walls and rooms all around. There are few plants. There is a well house. You will soon realize that the courtyard wall and door appeared in some of her paintings. She loved simplicity of line and form and kept her home in accordance with this desire for simplicity.

Abiquiu Morada

Abiquiu Morada – Photo Copyright Elizabeth R. Rose. If you want further information on Abiquiu, stop in at the Abiquiu Library across from the church.

In the pantry and kitchen you will see she lived, canning the harvest from the garden and using plain bowls and utensils kept on open metal cabinets. Even a special tea she enjoyed remains.

I especially enjoyed her large studio and marveled at the large windows and light where she painted. It is also a sitting room. In her studio are books cataloging her many works of art.

O’Keeffe’s bedroom also mirrors this simple style that opens out to nature. The corner windows are so large that she must have felt that she was sleeping outside on the edge of the mesa. The walls are a natural gray earth. The bedding and furnishings are simple and lend to the tranquil atmosphere.

Throughout the home you will see evidence of O’Keeffe’s love of nature and enjoyment of collecting specimens… rocks, skulls and more desert treasures. Many window ledges are full of these rocks. She loved walking out in the desert and returned with these treasures which ended up as simple, natural decor in her home.

You will be able to see the valley and the road below the mesa. O’Keeffe loved the road which ribboned through the valley and it appears in some of her paintings.

Ghost Ranch

Ghost Ranch is just down the road from Abiquiu. It is worth a visit as well. You can take a Georgia O’Keeffe Landscape Tour.

I highly recommend a tour of O’Keeffe’s home. It is not possible to tour her Ghost Ranch home. That is closed to the public. Touring the Abiquiu home and studio gives you a rare opportunity to get to know the artist through how she lived and worked. You’ll see her love for the home mirrored in some of her paintings. Standing on the edge of the mesa, as she did, will be a memory to take back with you when you leave northern New Mexico.

You cannot take photos inside the home and grounds but you can take photos outside the compound.

More Information
Stay at the Abiquiu Inn
Reserve a place to stay in Santa Fe

Photos Copyright: Elizabeth Rose Photography

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