Mabel Dodge Luhan House is located at 240 Morada Lane in Taos.
Mabel Dodge Luhan began life as Mabel Ganson, born on February 26, 1879 to wealthy socialite parents in Buffalo, New York. Her chaotic life which followed, featured numerous love affairs (both men and women), marriages, divorces, and homes from New York, to Italy to Taos, New Mexico. She married her first husband, Karl Evans, in Buffalo in 1900. This marriage produced a son, John, but it ended tragically in 1902 when Karl was killed by a friend in a hunting accident. Mabel soon left on a sea voyage to Europe and met Boston architect Edwin Dodge, whom she married in 1904. They had a villa in Florence, Italy until 1912, where they entertained American artists and writers visiting Europe. During her time in Italy, Mabel had numerous affairs and eventually divorced Dodge, returning to New York.
Mabel took an apartment in Greenwich Village in New York City, and soon began entertaining “movers and shakers” there. She met painter/sculptor Maurice Sterne and married him in 1916. Sterne went to New Mexico in 1917, and soon urged Mabel to join him.
Mabel immediately fell in love with Taos and bought a four-room adobe house in 1918 for $1,500. The house adjoined Taos Pueblo land, and while teaching some Taos Pueblo women how to knit, she met Tony Luhan, a Taos Pueblo Indian who became her fourth husband in 1923. Mabel and Tony began expanding the original house, and Tony supervised a crew of Taos Pueblo Indians who enlarged the home to the 22 rooms present there today.
Such a large home in Taos enabled Mabel to entertain
artists, photographers, and writers from around the country. Artists could come
to Taos and stay at Mabel’s for relaxation and inspiration. Visitors included
photographer Ansel Adams; artists Georgia O’Keefe, Edward Hopper, and Lady
Dorothy Brett; writers Willa Cather, D.H. Lawrence, Frank Waters, and Aldous
Huxley; psychologist Carl Jung; and John Collier, who as U.S. Commissioner of
Indian Affairs from 1933 to 1945, was deeply involved in protecting the rights
of Taos Pueblo Indians.
artists to Taos, Mabel was instrumental in purchasing and preserving art works
from the Taos Indians. She became a strong proponent of native art. So despite
her questionable sexual mores, Mabel Evans Dodge Sterne Luhan is rightfully
remembered as helping to establish Taos as an artist’s colony and retreat for
artists from around the country. Mabel died on August 13, 1962 and is buried in
Kit Carson cemetery in Taos. Tony Luhan died soon after Mabel, and is buried in the
Taos Pueblo cemetery. Today the Mabel Dodge Luhan House continues to be a
retreat center, offering classes, programs and relaxation for people drawn to
Taos by its natural beauty and cultural diversity.
To find out more about the Mabel Dodge Luhan House and classes offered, go to: https://www.mabeldodgeluhan.com/