Carmen Herrera sold her first painting in 2004 at the age of 89, after painting full-time for more than 60 years. Now recognised as a pioneer of Geometric Abstraction and Latin American Modernism, her radiant geometric paintings are striking in their formal control. From t the beginning, Carmen Herrera’s personal path to abstraction has been characterized by order and simplicity. These qualities are evident both in her definition of forms and her use of strong color.
By Efi Michalarou
Photo: Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen Archive
Lines of Sight” is the largest exhibition to date devoted to the Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera, featuring 70 works and involves paintings, works on paper, and sculptures produced between 1947 and 2017. Carmen Herrera was born in Havana in 1915. Her father was the editor of the newspaper “El Mundo”, her mother was a journalist and author. Herrera studied Architecture in Havana, where she met Jesse Loewenthal. After marrying, the couple moved to New York in 1939, where she studied painting at the Art Students League in 1942-43. Herrera became friends with Barnett Newman, and moved in the circles of a newly emergent Abstract Expressionism. From 1948 until 1954, Herrera lived with her husband in Paris. In 1949, she became a member of the group Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, where she became acquainted with Sonia Delaunay, among others, and had numerous encounters within the artistic and literary circles of postwar era. During this phase, Herrera’s work alternated between Abstract and Lyrical Expressionism. In 1952, she produced her first radically geometric abstractions, including a series of black-and-white stripe paintings. In 1954, the pair returned to New York, where Herrera soon produced the major series “Blanco y Verde” (1959-71). In these paintings, based exclusively on green and white surfaces, she explored the limits of painting experimentally. Produced as well during the ‘60s were the so-called “Estructuras”. These sculptures, based on preliminary drawings, represent a confrontation with architectonically oriented abstraction. Her works from the last decades reveal that her color field paintings, with their genuinely radical compositional structures, have lost none of their potent impact.
Info: Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K20 Grabbeplatz, Grabbeplatz 5, Düsseldorf, Duration: 1/12/17-8/4/18, Days & Hours: Tue-Fri 10:00-18:00, Sat-Sun 11:00-18:00, www.kunstsammlung.de