Carmen Herrera Untitled 1952

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 406 The David Geffen Galleries

To make this work, Herrera painted vertical bands of black and white at varying lengths and with diagonal breaks that create a two-tone zigzag pattern. She extended her pattern to the face and sides of the frame, giving the object a sense of dynamic totality. "I began a lifelong process of purification, a process of taking away what isn't essential," she explained. Although active in Paris and New York from the late 1940s on, she did not sell a painting until 2004, at the age of eighty-nine. She has recalled that one dealer bluntly told her, "You can paint circles around the male artists that I have, but I'm not going to give you a show because you're a woman."

Gallery label from Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, April 19 - August 13, 2017
Additional text

Can you see the zigzag that goes across this painting? Follow it with your finger in the air. What looks like a line is actually created by the many different places where white paint meets black paint.

Kids label from 2019
Acrylic on canvas
25 x 60" (63.5 x 152.4 cm)
Gift of Agnes Gund and Tony Bechara
Object number
© Carmen Herrera
Painting and Sculpture

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