Carmen Herrera: 'Men controlled everything, not just art'

By Simon Hattenstone

The 101-year-old, who sold her first painting aged 89, talks about hanging out with Sartre, Matisse and Picasso, patience – and her next big project

It's noon at Carmen Herrera‘s home in downtown Manhattan. Time for a drink. “Would you like a cup of tea, or a scotch?” she asks. Scotch, please. She smiles. It's the answer she was looking for. We rummage among the boxes – bottle after bottle of the finest single malts – before settling on the super-peaty Lagavulin. We clink glasses.

At 101 years old, Herrera is in her artistic prime. She has been a working artist for the best part of a century, but it wasn't until 2004, at the age of 89, that she sold her first painting. For the past four months, there has been a gorgeous exhibition of her work at New York's Whitney gallery, soon to transfer to the Wexner Center in Ohio. The Cuban-born artist has belatedly been recognised and her pieces are selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Good job, too, she says. It's not cheap getting old.

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Source: Carmen Herrera: ‘Men controlled everything, not just art'