Painter Becomes Famous at 94

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Artists Sells Her First Painting at 89

Read this inspiring tale that shows it is never too late to paint:

Carmen Herrera

You could definitely say that painter Carmen Herrera doesn’t give up.

After painting full-time for more than 60 years, the Cuban born artist sold her first painting. Five paintings in fact. In one show. In one night. At the age of 89.

Herrera circa 1940 photo by Alison Klayman

She almost didn’t exhibit in that show. When one of the artists who was supposed to be part of the exhibition canceled, her name was suggested.

She loved to paint, but was not aggressive about marketing her work. For her, the important thing was the work itself.

I had no choice – my work really needed to come out, it was a necessity, as well as a pleasure.

Although she had received some good reviews for her minimalistic, geometric paintings, she had not sold a single painting until 2004. Then once she sold those first 5 and word got out, she sold more. Now her works can be found in collections around the world.

The artist believes this late fame may have been for the best. It gave her time to create her style and hone her craft without fame getting in the way.

I’ve made it on to the cover of the New York Times without ­having to kill anyone.

Would the fame and money served her as well when she was younger? She doubts it. But Herrera, who celebrated her 100th birthday this year has definitely hit the big time now.


The original article by Carmen Herrera on the Guardian, As told to Chris Broughton

Additional information from Eileen Kinsella on ArtNews

Color photo of Carmen Herrera by Caroll Taveras

Black and white photo of Herrera circa 1940 by Alison Klayman, from the documentary The 100 Years Picture Show

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