Ram's Head with Hollyhock
1930



Cow's Skull - Red, White
and Blue 1930



View from My Studio, 1930



Black Rock with Blue III
1970



During Georgia's second summer in New Mexico she began collecting the dry, white animal bones scattered over the desert. She would crate up many of them and ship them to Lake George so that she could study and paint the bones later.

"The bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive on the desert even tho' it is vast and empty and untouchable...and knows no kindness with all it's beauty."

In June of 1934 Georgia would visit Ghost Ranch for the first time, and knew immediately that she would live here. The ranch is located in a remote area approximately 120 miles north of Albuquerque. Among other guests to visit the ranch were, D.H. Lawrence, Charles and Anna Lindbergh, and Ansel Adams.

"All the earth colors of the painter's palette are out there in the many miles of badlands..."

Georgia purchased the house where she had been staying at Ghost Ranch in 1940, along with the view of the flat-topped mesa in the Jemez range, called the Pedernal. She jokingly remarked:

"It's my private mountain, It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it."

In December 1945 she bought an abandoned hacienda in the village of Abiquiu, 16 miles from Ghost Ranch. The crumbling structures of 5 buildings would go through extensive renovation until completion in 1948.

While Georgia was spending the summer of 1946 in New Mexico, Stieglitz suffered a cerebral thrombosis. She quickly flew to New York to be by his side where he died on July 13, 1946. She took his ashes to Lake George and buried them at the foot of a tall pine tree beside the lake.

As both the inheritor and executor of his estate, Georgia found herself busy the next three winters in New York cataloging his works and finding suitable institutions for his photographs and writings.

Although separated for long periods of time through the years, Stieglitz had taken care of many business details for Georgia. She would now have to take on these responsibilities.

"For me he was much more wonderful in his work than as a human being...I believe it was the work that kept me with him...though I loved him as a human being...I put up with what seemed to me a good deal of contradictory nonsense because of what seemed clear and bright and wonderful."

Although having a major retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1943 and later an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, she would only have 3 solo shows in the fifties. It was a time of change in the art world where her work was not considered in fashion.

She would withdraw from the limelight...tending her garden at the Abiquiu home and travelling to Mexico, South America, Europe, and Asia...often in the spring when the dust storms were so prevalent in New Mexico. When asked why she travelled so much, she would say that she wanted to see if she lived in the right place.

In 1962 Georgia was elected to the 50 member American Academy of Arts and Letters, the nation's highest honor society for people in the arts. By the 70's people began to take renewed interest in her work. She was invited to show at the Whitney and her retrospective exhibit travelled to the Art Institute of Chicago and San Francisco Museum of Art...setting new attendance records. Her popularity was skyrocketing.

In 1971 Georgia became aware that her eyesight was failing. At the age of 84, she was losing her central vision and only had peripheral sight...an irreversible eye degeneration disease. She would stop painting in 1972.

"When you get so that you can't see, you come to it gradually. And if you didn't come by it gradually, I guess you'd just kill yourself when you couldn't see."

Juan Hamilton, a young potter, appeared at Georgia's ranch house one autumn day in 1973 looking for work. She hired him for a few odd jobs and would employ him full time shortly thereafter. He became her closest confident, companion, and business manager until her death.

"He came just the moment I needed him."

She later dabbled in pottery herself, and had a large kiln installed at the ranch for firing pots. Even with her dimming eyesight she was inspired by Hamilton and others to paint again. She hired a studio assistant to execute some of her ideas. During this time she agreed to accept interviews and other opportunities. In 1976 she would write a book, with Juan's help, about her art...and allowed a film crew to do a documentary at Ghost Ranch.

O'Keeffe's love of Ghost Ranch remained as strong as the first day she had seen it more than 40 years before.

"When I think of death, I only regret that I will not be able to see this beautiful country anymore...unless the Indians are right and my spirit will walk here after I'm gone."

Georgia became increasingly frail in her late 90's and moved to Santa Fe where she would die on March 6, 1986, at the age of 98. Per her instructions, she was cremated the next day. Juan Hamilton walked to the top of the Pedernal Mountain and scattered her ashes to the wind...over her beloved "faraway".

The O'keeffe Collection -photographs of the artist

for comments please send e-mail to: jellenc@ionet.net


OTHER SITES:

National Gallery of Art

Potomac American Gallery

Canyon Suite Collection

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Georgia O'Keeffe-Artcyclopedia

O'Keeffe article

O'Keeffe Library at Abiquiu

O'Keeffe's Cast

Grand Inspiritors: Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe Fan

Georgia O'Keeffe Online Gallery

ABQ Journal-O'Keeffe

Destinations: Georgia O'Keeffe

Featured Artists

Ghost Ranch

Ghost Ranch Photos

Alfred Stieglitz-Photographer

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'keeffe & American Modernism

Barnes and Noble Books

Amazon Books

Books on O'Keeffe

AskArt - O'Keeffe Art Valuations

Santa Fe Photographics
(great source for O'Keeffe prints/posters)

O'Keeffe Prints

O'Keeffe Fine Art Prints

Barewalls Art Posters

Mabel Dodge Luhan House

The Woolf & O'Keeffe Connection

World of Frida Kahlo

Mary Jean Olivelli

Abiquiu Inn

Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau

Santa Fe Now


INFORMATION:

BREAKING NEWS: O'Keeffe's "Canyon Suite" watercolors at Kemper Museum declared FAKES. Read all about it at the Kansas City Star or the recent Washington Post article (August 4, 2000) The Curious Case Of the Spurious O'Keeffe's

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico officially opened on July 17, 1997, and is located at 217 Johnson Street. More than 80 of her paintings, drawings, and sculptures will be on display. An official 144 page catalog is available with 120 illustrations, price $35. For further information you may call 505-827-4455.

For those of you who would like to visit her home in Abiquiu, 45 miles north of Santa Fe, you will need to make reservations months in advance. Guided tours are $20. for the interior, and $15. for the exterior. Appointments only on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. For more information call 505-685-4539.


REFERENCES:

O'Keeffe, The Life of an American Legend; Jeffrey Hogrefe; Bantam; 1994; ISBN 0-553-56545-1

Portrait of an Artist; Laurie Lisle; Washington Square Press; 1986; ISBN 0-671-60040-0

Becoming O'Keeffe; Sarah W. Peters; Abbeville Press; 1991; ISBN 0-55859-362-4

Georgia O'Keeffe; Georgia O'Keeffe; Penguin Books; 1977; ISBN 0-14-004677-1

Georgia O'Keeffe; Elizabeth Montgomery; Barnes & Noble; 1993; ISBN 0-88029-951-7

Georgia O'Keeffe; Charles C. Eldredge; Harry N. Abrams, Inc; 1991; ISBN 0-8109-3657-7

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