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Remembering Miss O’Keeffe: Stories from Abiquiu

Margaret Wood

In 1977 Margaret Wood was a twenty-four-year-old living an ordinary life in Lincoln, Nebraska. That year her life changed when she went to Abiquiu, a remote village in northern New Mexico, where she began a five-year stay as companion and caretaker to then eighty-nine-year-old Georgia O’Keeffe. There were no sign posts in the village in those years and few markers for a young woman managing the complex role as companion to a woman of O’Keeffe’s stature who nonetheless was now dependent on others to maintain the independent life she had cultivated so fiercely. Wood and O’Keeffe often walked the red hills of Ghost Ranch in early evenings, the place where the artist experienced true freedom. The artist had a reputation of living a secluded life but in fact enjoyed welcoming a host of visitors to her home. Wood shares anecdotes about these social exchanges, along with a treasure trove of stories intimately shared. When Wood's father—the photographer Myron Wood—came to visit, he asked for and received permission to photograph O’Keeffe. A dozen of these historic images, published a decade later in the seminal publication, O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu, are reproduced to complement Margaret Wood’s quiet insights of life spent with O’Keeffe.


Margaret Wood is the author of A Painter’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe (Museum of New Mexico Press). She is a speech-language pathologist and makes her home in Santa Fe.


"(Georgia O’Keeffe) was a very private woman. In her small, tender new book of eight stories, Margaret Wood sheds a soft, welcome light on the simple private life of the artist. For five years beginning in 1977, Wood, a young woman, was a constant companion and caretaker for O’Keeffe, who by then was losing her eyesight. Some of the most endearing moments in Wood's stories are about being outdoors, of Wood preparing meals, and of her helping the artist ready for bed."


Albuquerque Journal

Published By Museum of New Mexico Press

5.875 x 9.5 in. 64 pages 12 duotone photographs