By Steven Robert Allen
Maria Chabot was 26 years old and Georgia O'Keeffe was 53 when the two women met in New Mexico in 1940 and quickly became friends. Chabot, an aspiring writer, began spending summers at the famous painter's Ghost Ranch. Later, she organized the restoration of O'Keeffe's decaying adobe house in Abiquiu.
During winters and early springs—while Chabot spent time with her family in San Antonio and O'Keeffe lived with her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, in New York—the two women regularly corresponded with each other. After the painter's death in 1986, Chabot recognized that these letters and related photographs were important historical documents. She began forming plans for their publication.
By the time of Chabot's death in 2001, the project was still incomplete. Her literary estate was bequeathed to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center, and now her dream has finally been realized in a book called Maria Chabot/Georgia O'Keeffe: Correspondence 1941-1949.
The museum opens a new exhibit on Friday, Feb. 6, composed of letters and photos from this book. Forty of the 60 photos in the book will be in the show along with a small selection of more than 700 letters. The exhibit provides a rare opportunity to witness another facet of O'Keeffe's life here in New Mexico. Moments in Time: Photographs by Maria Chabot runs through June 1. For details, call (505) 946-1000.
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