Artist Carmen Herrera: The Beauty of the Late Bloomer

9 years ago

Carmen Herrera is a hot up-and-coming abstract painter. The art world is abuzz over her art. Consider this description from a review of a recent showing of Herrera's work:

Upstairs, a vibrating gallery was so loaded with energy that, as you walked around, the room seemed to stand up and hum.

Who is this bright young thing who has made such an electric impression?

From a recent profile in The New York Times:

In a word, Ms. Herrera, a nonagenarian homebound painter with arthritis, is hot. In an era when the art world idolizes, and often richly rewards, the young and the new, she embodies a different, much rarer kind of success, that of the artist long overlooked by the market, and by history, who persevered because she had no choice.

“I do it because I have to do it; it’s a compulsion that also gives me pleasure,” she said of painting. “I never in my life had any idea of money and I thought fame was a very vulgar thing. So I just worked and waited. And at the end of my life, I’m getting a lot of recognition, to my amazement and my pleasure, actually.”

"At 94, She's the Hot New Thing in Painting" by Deborah Sontag

As I wrote in my post about making your dreams come true, being open to how your dream shows up helps you get there. If Herrera had only continued painting if galleries had come knocking down her doors early in her painting career, we might not have reached the point where decades later the world is finally recognizing her genius. Instead, though she started painting in the 1930s, she did not sell her first painting until 2004.

"Blanco y Verde" (1966)

I am happy that I have been introduced to Carmen Herrera while she is still alive and not after she has passed as too often is the case. I have fallen in love with her paintings. But I have also been inspired by her story. As Julián Zugazagoitia, the director of El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem says in the NY Times article: hers "is clearly a story of personal strength."

And I am not the only blogger who raised a feminist power fist and shouted Boo Yah in her living room when reading this passage:

Recognition for Ms. Herrera came a few years after her husband’s death, at 98, in 2000. “Everybody says Jesse must have orchestrated this from above,” Ms. Herrera said, shaking her head. “Yeah, right, Jesse on a cloud.” She added: “I worked really hard. Maybe it was me.”

I urge you to read the whole article for much more of the well-deserved accolades Ms. Herrera is receiving and for her sharp wit and wisdom.

I can only hope that I shine that brightly and bloom that fully when I am 94.

Photo Credit: The New York Times

More Blogging Fans:

Kelsey Keith at FlavorWire: Carmen Herrera, Painter and "Quiet Warrior" at Age 94

Shaker Maud at Shakesville: Geometry and Ladies? You Need Carmen Herrera

Jane Genova Speechwriter-Ghostwriter: Carmen Herrera: Star is born at 94, confirming Galeson's late-bloomer research

The other is a lifetime of searching, exploring, and, I contend, gaining confidence.  Among those we see Clint Eastwood in directing and acting, Hillary Clinton in political performance art, Michael Nilan in organizational and public relations genius at maverick law firm Halleland Lewis Nilan & Johnson, and me in fiction.  Regarding the latter, I published my first novel at age 64.

Now that Galeson has broken open this subject and increased life spans give more of us a shot at late-blooming, expect this theme to be a long tail or niche topic in research, media, and mindsets identifying fresh talent.

Monica Espinel at LatinCollector: Carmen Herrera, Arte Al Dia

@jacqsmith at Campbell PR : Inspiration (1/4/10)

If each day was approached with skillful grace, along with a smile of gratitude, then this post would not be entitled, "Inspiration." After reading this article about Carmen Herrera, I was given a taste of my own potential for my future.

Laura Cumming at Guardian UK: Carmen Herrera, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

Carmen Herrera is the discovery of the year - of the decade. It would be hard to overstate the surprise of seeing her radiant paintings for the first time....

In the past couple of years, Britain has seen retrospectives of three tremendous nonagenarian women artists: Maria Lassnig, Louise Bourgeois, Carmen Herrera; and Herrera, at 94, is at last represented in Moma and Tate Modern. Better late than never. Whatever has sustained her through all these decades is surely present in the vivacity of these paintings. May she go on forever.

BlogHer CE Maria Niles appreciates art at PopConsumer.

BlogHer Contributing Editor PopConsumer Beyond Help

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