At 100, Carmen Herrera’s Career Would Make Any Artist Jealous
Posted by: Roy Wilbur
The following is an excerpt from Ted Loos’ article “An Artist at 100, Thinking Big but Starting Small” that appeared in The New York Times on April 15, 2016
The painter Carmen Herrera, who turns 101 in May, was sitting in her wheelchair on a gray day last month, waiting and watching, catlike.
She was quiet for the moment, but at any time she might toss off a teasing zinger toward an old friend who was present, or a directive to her assistant to make a minute calibration to one of her hard-edge abstract paintings.
Ms. Herrera, who has shoulder-length white hair and wire-rim glasses and was wearing a black cardigan sweater, held up a small, rectangular piece of painted vellum and compared it to the larger version of the same work, one done on paper, which was hanging on the wall of her large, floor-through home and studio on East 19th Street.
She grunted softly.
Silently assessing the diamond-shaped areas of red and blue on the canvas, Ms. Herrera was working, in her way — deciding how much red, how much blue, and where the line between them would be — though she was not applying paint just then.
Ms. Herrera still makes art every day; it sustains her. “I’ve painted all my life,” she said, nodding her head firmly to make the point. “It makes me feel good.” She sold her first piece 81 years ago.
Her sense of humor remains intact, and she has tart, firm opinions. “Don’t do it,” she said with a chuckle about being 100. “It’s horrible.”
Image courtesy of El Mundo