Tour the Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio

Pantry at the Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio, Abiquiu, NM Photo/Herb Lotz: copyright Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

If you thought Georgia O’Keeffe was only about flowers, think again. She was a fascinating woman, ahead of her time. The Georgia OKeeffe Home and Studio in Abiquiu, NM attracts lots of visitors each year. If you’re an O’Keeffe fan and plan on visiting Santa Fe, a day-trip to her home and “O’Keeffe Country” is a must-do. To flesh out the day, visit Ghost Ranch where O’Keeffe spent her summers painting. Her home at Ghost Ranch is not open to the public due to its deteriorated and fragile condition, but the ranch offers a few interesting museums, great hiking and an O’Keeffe landscape tour. This tour takes you to the places on the ranch that inspired the artist and became legends in her paintings.

You arrive at the home’s Visitor’s Center at the Abiquiu Inn at the appointed time. A small bus (maximum tour size is 12) takes you to the house, on a mesa with expansive views of the Chama River Valley and the mountains beyond.  The guides are very knowledgeable and the tour is fun. The local folks still fiercely protect Miss O’Keeffe’s (as they still call her) privacy.

The White Place, Abiquiu, NM Photo by Steve Collins

When she first saw the traditional adobe (circa 1796), it was a ruin owned by the local Catholic Diocese. After years of negotiation the Diocese relented and sold it to her in 1945. She was a tenacious woman. They stipulated that the original structure would be kept intact. Had they had not sold the house, which was in terrible repair, it would eventually have collapsed.

O’Keeffe wanted a second home in the area. She loved growing vegetables and the soil at her Ghost Ranch home was not conducive to gardening. She loved her gardens and canned and froze what could not be immediately consumed. O’Keeffe’s kitchen and pantry are a tribute to 50’s modernity. Her appliances (which she retained until she left the home in 1984) were top of the line when she moved in. A large freezer stored much of the garden’s bounty.

The home’s sparse furnishings represent the big names in Mid-century design. Pieces by Herman Miller, Charles Eames, and Eero Saarinen are scattered throughout the house and a Noguchi rice-paper shade reigns over the simple dining-room table (it is the only lampshade in the house, O’Keeffe favored bare bulbs). O’Keeffe collected rocks and stones. They are an integral part of the décor as are some of her famous skulls.

The guided-tour is an hour. Some rooms are accessible to visitors, and some, because of fragile flooring, are glimpsed through windows and doorways. The gardens and grounds are beautiful. The salt cedars, poisonous Jimson Weed (Datura) and sculpted junipers create an unusual landscape. At the end of the hour, visitors reboard the bus and leave this well-preserved piece of the past perhaps feeling that they have a better understanding of the artist and her work.

If you want to tour the Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio, it is open March through November. Reservations are required. Plan in advance as the tours fill up early, especially in July and August. For information and reservations, call 505-685-4539.

For more on Georgia O’Keeffe and Abiquiu, read about Ghost Ranch’s Georgia O’Keeffe Landscape Tour
Photo of Georgia O’Keeffe’s pantry is by Herb Lotz used courtesy of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Abiquiu is featured in 10 Places for a romantic outdoors getaway on the Online Travel Magazine
, Striped Pot.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 Responses to “Tour the Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio”

  1. Sharon
    January 8, 2019 at 8:11 am #

    We’re planning a trip to Santa Fe this summer and we’re adding this to our list. Thanks for sharing this great place.

  2. Charles Higgins
    January 8, 2019 at 10:39 am #

    OKeefe is one of my wife’s fave artists..your article inspires a visit..

    Cheers..

    • Billie Frank
      January 8, 2019 at 10:46 am #

      Not only can she see the home and studio if you visit between March and November, the museum is great. Check before you arrange your visit as the museum closes to remount new shows and I don’t want her or anyone to be disappointed. Let me know if you plan to come, would love to meet you.

  3. Jodie Jacobs
    January 9, 2019 at 12:19 pm #

    Love the works of Georgia O’Keeffe. Hope to see her home someday.

    • Billie Frank
      January 9, 2019 at 12:33 pm #

      Hi Jodie- Nice to see you commenting. The museum is wonderful, too. They have the largest collection of her works in the world. The New Mexico Museum of Art also boasts some O’Keeffes in their collection.

  4. Tom
    February 22, 2019 at 6:34 pm #

    What can we d in February at the ranch and museum? Will we find everything closed?

    • Billie Frank
      February 23, 2019 at 7:56 am #

      The Home and Studio is Closed in February. The Ranch is always open, check with them about activities they offer at that time. The Santa Fe Traveler (http://www.thesantafetraveler.com) specializes in creating experiences for our clients and we can set up a Georgia O’Keeffe one for you any time of year.

  5. bonnie
    November 29, 2019 at 12:40 pm #

    we went in oct. and found it most enjoyable. but make sure you know, you bring no purse, camera or anything to sketch on. it all goes in your memory. or take more tours. i stayed in back and talked with the bus driver, who as a child went up there when his dad worked for her. i got many stories

    • Billie Frank
      November 29, 2019 at 9:56 pm #

      I know you can’t take photos- I’m pretty sure I took a purse there. Perhaps they changed the rules. I’ll have to check with them.

  6. Patricia Schulze
    January 22, 2019 at 3:54 pm #

    When is the best time of the year to visit the area. I have deeply admired O’Keeffe for a very long time and it has been my dream to see the places she lived and painted. Now that I have retired from teaching, I hope to fulfill my dream of coming to New Mexico.

    • Billie Frank
      January 22, 2019 at 4:59 pm #

      The O’Keeffe home opens in March and stays open until November. Check the schedule on their website to see days and hours of tours. It is easier to get into and probably less crowded in the spring. It depends on what time of year you want to be out here. Summer can be hot. Best weather in May and October- but it can snow in May. It melts off quickly. Also check out the O’Keeffe Landscape Tour at Ghost Ranch.

  7. Joyce Carlson
    February 28, 2019 at 12:26 pm #

    Where is the Georgia O’Keefe “museum”? Is it separate from the Ghost Ranch facility?

    • Billie Frank
      February 28, 2019 at 3:08 pm #

      The museum in in Santa Fe. The Home and Studio are separate from Ghost Ranch.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge