Carmen Herrera faced various adversities because she was an immigrant, because she lived at a time of great political upheaval in Cuba and because she was a woman. But beyond these difficulties, she developed ground-breaking developments in her artistic career as an early champion of geometric abstraction and a pioneer of Latin American Modernism.
Herrera, born in 1915 in Havana, recently turned 103. This makes her possibly the ‘oldest contemporary artist working today.’ But most striking is the fact that she worked in “obscurity” for seven decades before reaching her “commercial success” upon selling her first painting in 2004. In an interview with the New York Times she commented on her work:
“I do it because I have to do it; it’s a compulsion that also gives me pleasure. 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.”