A look at the modern artist’s exquisitely simple Western interiors aesthetic.
Photo: Tony Vaccaro
Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887-1986, American painter, was one of the pioneers of American modernist art. As a young woman, she meets Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), who was a renowned photographer and owner of a gallery in New York where he exhibited European avant-garde art - and in 1916 also Georgia O‘Keeffe, whom he married eight years later.
Georgia O’Keeffe first ventured to New Mexico in 1929, where she fell in love with the austerity of the region’s landscape and the organic shapes of the Texan desert.
The artist began to travel back and forth: while she spent most of the year in New York with her husband, she would make summer sojourns to an artists’ compound, and after Alfred Stieglitz’ death she lived permanently on the edge of the desert. She spent the last forty years of her life there, in quiet but creative isolation, staying in two incredibly beautiful houses, The Ghost Ranch and the Abiquiú House.
Photo: Justin Chung
Photo: Justin Chung
Georgia O'Keeffe lived a life of Zen-like simplicity, and over years of renovations, the Abiquiu House became a modernist paradise. Although the home is modest in appearance, it exudes a certain harmony, as if each element was placed in the right place. Floors of natural adobe – a building material hewn from packed earth – contribute to the house’s monastic aura. The dining room is simply furnished with a long plywood table, high-backed Chinese chairs and a large rice paper lamp by Isamu Noguchi, all in neutral tones making for a soft and serene backdrop. Accents in primary colors – a red Eames chair, colorful Navajo rugs and vibrant pillows – leant a hum of energy to these peaceful spaces. A sparse and elegant hanging mobile made by her friend, artist Alexander Calder, hung in her living room. His puritanical yet softly organic aesthetic fitted in perfectly into her desert refugium. Eventually, many of the rooms in the house would feature panoramic picture windows that revealed vast swathes of the colorful stone landscape in the distance. O’Keeffe gained much of her inspiration for the art from her surroundings, and here it is clear to see how her habitat was a direct inspiration for many of her later paintings, namely In The Patio (1948) and My Last Door (1952/54).