The tours serve as much as a tribute to the artist as to the unique New Mexican landscape that inspired so much of her work.
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum will begin offering a “Behind the Scenes Tour” of the artist’s home and studio in Abiquiu, N.M., giving vistors a rare glimpse into her private world. The weekly tour begins June 12.
O’Keeffe bought the 5,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial-era compound in 1945 from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. She then spent the next few years restoring the structure with her friend Maria Chabot. O’Keeffe moved to New Mexico permanently in 1949 after the death of her husband. She lived at her Abiquiu or Ghost Ranch houses until 1984. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum now owns and maintains both of these homes.
She died in 1986 at the age of 98. In her obituary, Los Angeles Times staff writer Burt Folkart called her “America’s undisputed empress of art.”
“She was a girl who served as a photography model for her husband, master photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who then matured into a painter who defied definition or categorization,” Folkart wrote. “The quests for cosmic meaning she sought through her palette had taken her to the stark isolation of her beloved New Mexico with its bleached animal skulls and exotic flowers that grew in the desert that was her front yard. And at her death she had become, if not a national treasure, one of America’s most revered museum pieces.”
The new behind-the-scenes tour will allow visitors to walk into the room behind the Black Patio Door — a subject of many of her paintings — that inspired O’Keeffe to purchase her Abiquiu home. This room was O’Keeffe’s workspace where she prepared her canvases.
The tour will also include a stop to see O’Keeffe’s book room that houses her vast library showcasing her various interests and the fallout shelter she had built on the property in the 1960s.
The tour will run at 7 p.m. Wednesdays until Aug. 28. The cost is $60 per person. Reservations can be made online or by calling (505) 685-4539.
(c)2013 the Los Angeles Times. Distributed by MCT Information Services.
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Photo credit: A ban at the entrance of Georgia O' Keeffe's Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico. Artotem / Flickr