Carmen Herrera, 100 Years Old This Year

Above: Carmen Herrera, Verde y Negro, 1995, Serigraph
In the exhibition “...Of The Americas”, LUAG Lower Gallery, August 26, 2015 – June 4,2017

Carmen Herrera sold her first painting at the age of 89, and today her paintings are part of the collections at MoMA and the Whitney. It took nearly nine decades for her works to be recognized.

Herrera was born in Cuba in 1915. She took art classes as a young student, and painting remained a hobby until her marriage in 1939. She married an American English teacher, Jess Lowenthal, and together they relocated to New York City where she pursued figurative painting. It was only in 1948 when she went to Paris that she started to develop her own style. Her inspiration stemmed from the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, where she exhibited her geometric shaped painting with bold colors.

She and her husband returned to New York City in the 50’s and, she decided to focus on painting rather than exhibiting. It was difficult for her to attract interest because of the social issues at that time dealing with gender and heritage.

She exhibited here and there, but it was not until a show of women geometric painters in New York City did she sell a painting at age 89, and this was just the beginning. Her works became sought after by collectors and part of the permanent collections at the Whitney, Tate and MoMA. She even was the main figure in the documentary The 100 Years Show, directed by Alison Klayman.

Today she paints every day in her apartment in Union Square in New York City where she has lived for over 45 years.

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