Many of you must have heard of artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, she was a major figure in American art from the 1920s. She is chiefly known for paintings of flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones, and landscapes.
The artist’s house at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico is where she spent each summer and fall of most of the last 40 years of her long and prolific life. (She died in 1986 at the age of 98.). Some years ago it was restored to its original 1940s appearance, based on photographs from the period.
Adobe fireplaces and walls, and the viga-and-latilla ceilings typical of New Mexican adobe-style architecture, endow the house with a welcoming, earthy intimacy.
“To me it is the best place in the world,” O’Keeffe (at 94) said of Ghost Ranch. “It has always been secluded and solitary. When I first went there, it was only one house with one room—which had a ghost living in it.”
O’Keeffe would climb the ladder to the roof, where she often slept.
The kitchen and breakfast room feature viga-and-latilla ceilings and windows that open onto the high-desert landscape.
As elsewhere in the house, rocks, shells and bones collected by the artist on her walks line shelves in the dining room. Chinese chairs surround the plain plywood table. The simple, U-shaped adobe structure was built in the 1930s; it now sits on approximately 12 acres.
From the breakfast room, O’Keeffe could look north to the pump house.
Her Untitled (Red and Yellow Cliffs) dates from 1940, the year she bought the property. It pictures the view from her window.
The studio at Ghost Ranch remained an austere space with few furnishings. “I thought the ranch would be good for me because nothing can grow here and I wouldn’t be able to use up my time gardening,” she said.
The Le Corbusier–style lounge chair in the studio is original to the house.
The house, with Cerro Pedernal in the distance.
All images and information from Architectural Digest.