Home is where the art is: 'Artful Living' dives deep into the interior design of Georgia O'Keeffe's home and studio

May 21—Georgia O'Keeffe's Abiquiú home may have been her greatest work of art.

Nestled in the desert landscape sits this unlikely mid-century — modern masterpiece. With a discerning eye for design, Georgia O'Keeffe transformed a traditional adobe home into an artist's sanctuary. With its large picture windows, skylights, open concept layout and modern furnishings, O'Keeffe's home circumvents regional norms — yet still includes original architectural features and traditional adobe treatments.

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Welcome Center's newest exhibition, "Artful Living: O'Keeffe and Modern Design" showcases the artist's aesthetic and the way she incorporated it into her traditional adobe home well into the 1980s.

"We're doing a deep dive into the interior design of O'Keeffe's home and studio," said curator Giustina Renzoni.

Despite being miles from design hubs like New York or Chicago, O'Keeffe's connections with furniture and textile designers, coupled with her keen sense of style, resulted in a dynamic space where the artist could experiment with color, pattern and texture.

O'Keeffe lived in the home and studio from 1949 to 1984. Its design shifted through the decades as the artist learned more about contemporary trends and collected throughout her travels.

It also knits her to her art.

"O'Keeffe's home was very meticulously crafted to create an environment where she could be inspired," Renzoni said. "She was constantly changing the appearance of her home."

When she moved into the house, she didn't have much furniture. In the 1950s, she was fascinated by black and white; by the 1960s, she leaned toward color.

Today, "it's certainly more subdued, but you'll find a pop of color in every room," Renzoni said.

Toward the end of her life, the decor grew more neutral.

"It was more of a place of contemplation and meditation," Renzoni said.

The exhibition showcases O'Keeffe's relationships with mid-century designers such as Alexander and Susan Girard, Ray and Charles Eames, and Isamu Noguchi. She traveled internationally with the Girards and received custom pieces from the Eameses.

"O'Keeffe had a lot of items from Finland, Scandinavia and Denmark," Renzoni said. "A lot of mid-century modern is very minimalist. It's really the form while being very functional. Even though she was in New Mexico, O'Keeffe was very in touch with the design trends."

The artist collected textiles from the Finnish company Marimekko.

"They're still in operation today," Renzoni said. "They became famous for bright patterns and saturated colors. The clothes they created focused on comfort. These were clothes for the modern woman, so it was perfect for O'Keeffe."

Visitors will see photographs of her home across the decades, as well as chairs, tables, lamps and clothing.

"We have some of her homewares on display — dishes, a teapot," Renzoni added. "She created for herself a modern environment which was the perfect place for her to create art."