The art world pays homage to the Cuban-born artist Carmen Herrera. Her paintings are in the permanent collections of major museums, but they contain the amazing story that her paintings are not recognized long after her life.
She died on Saturday in New York City at the age of 106.
Herrera, best known for her geometric abstract styles, including hard lines and edges, and intense colors, surged in popularity when she began selling paintings at the age of 89.
Her paintings are now in the permanent collections of museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museum of Modern Art in London.
Elm Theo del Barrio in New York City, the first institution to display her work, called her a “legendary artist” and a “pioneer.”
On its website, Herrera states that “it has long been ignored in favor of European and American male artists.”
“Before her time”
“At that time, her art wasn’t easy to digest,” Julian’s Gaza Goitia, then director of Elm Theo del Barrio, told The New York Times in 2009. She looks forward to the Cuban Emigré spent in Paris. She was ahead of her time. “
Herrera told the Times that she faced obstacles as a female Hispanic artist she accepted “as a handicap.”
At a retrospective exhibition in England in the summer of 2009, observers called on Herrera for a decade of discovery and asked, “Why did you miss these beautiful pieces?”
“I never thought about money in my life. I thought fame was very vulgar. So I just worked and waited. And the end of my life In fact, I’ve got a lot of recognition for my surprise and joy, “Herrera told the Times in 2009.
Herrera was born in Havana in 1915. Her father was the founding editor of the newspaper Elmundo, and her mother was a reporter. She spent a period of time traveling abroad and studying her in Paris, Rome and Berlin. From 1938 to 1939 she met an American teacher, Jesse Levental, and studied architecture at the University of Havana. They fell in love and moved to New York in 1939.
From 1948 to 1954, the couple lived in Paris when Elera began to shift to a geometric style and exhibited at the influential Salon de Realites Nouvelle, the venue for abstract artists. She began shaping with multi-panel paintings, and eventually her unique hard-edged paintings.
Herrera admitted that her husband, an English teacher at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, helped her work for decades. However, her art was recognized only after she died in 2000 at the age of 98.
“Herrera’s plight as a woman may have defeated and delayed her early career in New York, but Herrera’s plight was lost to many forgotten modernist practitioners. It came to represent a generation. The Lisson Gallery, which represented her for 10 years.
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