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Untitled (Orange and Black)
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Untitled (Orange and Black)
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Sobre el objeto

Carmen Herrera\nacrylic on canvas, in artist's frame\nPainted in 1956.\n\n“I see my paintings at a crossroads, they have much in common with geometry, with minimalism, yet they are neither. To me they are good paintings that do not fit into easy categories.” – Carmen HerreraPainted in 1956, Untitled (Orange and Black) is among the first mature paintings Carmen Herrera created upon returning to New York from Paris two years prior. A remarkable example of the asymmetrical and intuitive arrangement of forms characteristic of her New York period, the dichromatic painting is testament to the modular, almost mathematical process of combining and rotating triangular forms that Herrera initiated in 1956 with works such as this one. As in Green and White, 1956, Herrera has placed four elongated triangles at each corner and oriented them centripetally with their tips pointing inward – here enclosing a rectangular shape at the center. While the interplay of geometry and color results in palpable tension that projects outside the confines of the canvas, the refined flat surface treatment in Untitled (Orange and Black) illustrates Herrera’s goal of focusing the viewer’s attention on the materiality of the work’s support structure. This emphasis on the artwork’s objectness, i.e. its status as an object hanging on a wall, is further achieved by Herrera’s groundbreaking strategy of integrating the frame into the work’s very composition, which Herrera has here painted with the same orange paint used for the triangles. Works such as Untitled (Orange and Black) exemplify how Herrera was breaking ground at the same time as like-minded artists such as Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly were taking up similar innovations. Sidelined as a female Cuban immigrant in the male-dominated context of the Abstract Expressionist-dominated New York art world, it is only recently, due in part to her 2016 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, that Herrera has been accorded her due place within the annals of post-war abstraction.“Color is the essence of my painting,” Herrera reflected, “What starts to happen to it as you reduce its numbers and come down to two colors, then there is a subtlety, an intensity in the way two colors relate to each other” (Carmen Herrera, quoted in Carmen Herrera: The Black and White Paintings, exh. cat., El Museo del Barrio, New York, 1998, p. 18). Herrera’s abstract practice grew out of a true cross-cultural dialogue within the international history of geometric and Concrete abstraction. In the 1940s, during her first sojourn in New York, Herrera had already been in dialogue with her close friend and Abstract Expressionist painter Barnett Newman about the significance of color within abstraction. “We spoke about the nature of abstraction, its very essence,” Herrera recollects. “Barney felt strongly that abstraction needed a mythological or religious basis; I, on the other hand, wanted something clearer, less romantic and dark” (Carmen Herrera, quoted in Carmen Herrera: The Black and White Paintings, exh. cat., El Museo del Barrio, New York, 1998, p. 18).Untitled (Orange and Black) was created six years after Herrera’s decisive move towards abstraction upon encountering the Bauhaus and Russian Suprematism when she and her husband moved to Paris in 1948. Color and form cannot be separated in Herrera’s paintings. The delineation of the triangular and rectangular forms in this work demonstrates the structural and compositional significance of color in Herrera’s abstract oeuvre, whereby color and form equally embodies or promotes the significance of the other. The visual execution of such paintings follows an analytical study of the relation between color, shape, and scale, whereby Herrera chooses color instinctively and determines the scale of the canvas only upon finalizing the color and compositional organization on paper. This reliance on color shows strong affinities with the Brazilian Concreto and Neo-Concreto movement, with the resulting dynamism and rhythm in Herrera’s abstraction specifically anticipating Hélio Oiticica’s abstract paintings from the late 1950s. As with Herrera’s greatest works, it is the masterful balance of form and color that gives rise to a powerful stabilizing/destabilizing effect. Utterly captivating in both its grandeur and simplicity, Untitled (Orange and Black) is a powerful example of the pioneering achievements of one of the hitherto most under recognized abstract painters of the past century.
US
NY, US
US

text

&ldquo;I see my paintings at a crossroads, they have much in common with geometry, with minimalism, yet they are neither. To me they are good paintings that do not fit into easy categories.&rdquo; &ndash; Carmen Herrera<br /><br />Painted in 1956, <em>Untitled (Orange and Black)</em> is among the first mature paintings Carmen Herrera created upon returning to New York from Paris two years prior. A remarkable example of the asymmetrical and intuitive arrangement of forms characteristic of her New York period, the dichromatic painting is testament to the modular, almost mathematical process of combining and rotating triangular forms that Herrera initiated in 1956 with works such as this one. As in <em>Green and White</em>, 1956, Herrera has placed four elongated triangles at each corner and oriented them centripetally with their tips pointing inward &ndash; here enclosing a rectangular shape at the center. While the interplay of geometry and color results in palpable tension that projects outside the confines of the canvas, the refined flat surface treatment in <em>Untitled (Orange and Black)</em> illustrates Herrera&rsquo;s goal of focusing the viewer&rsquo;s attention on the materiality of the work&rsquo;s support structure. This emphasis on the artwork&rsquo;s objectness, i.e. its status as an object hanging on a wall, is further achieved by Herrera&rsquo;s groundbreaking strategy of integrating the frame into the work&rsquo;s very composition, which Herrera has here painted with the same orange paint used for the triangles. Works such as <em>Untitled (Orange and Black)</em> exemplify how Herrera was breaking ground at the same time as like-minded artists such as Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly were taking up similar innovations. Sidelined as a female Cuban immigrant in the male-dominated context of the Abstract Expressionist-dominated New York art world, it is only recently, due in part to her 2016 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, that Herrera has been accorded her due place within the annals of post-war abstraction.<br /><br />&ldquo;Color is the essence of my painting,&rdquo; Herrera reflected, &ldquo;What starts to happen to it as you reduce its numbers and come down to two colors, then there is a subtlety, an intensity in the way two colors relate to each other&rdquo; (Carmen Herrera, quoted in <em>Carmen Herrera: The Black and White Paintings</em>, exh. cat., El Museo del Barrio, New York, 1998, p. 18). Herrera&rsquo;s abstract practice grew out of a true cross-cultural dialogue within the international history of geometric and Concrete abstraction.<em> </em>In the 1940s, during her first sojourn in New York, Herrera had already been in dialogue with her close friend and Abstract Expressionist painter Barnett Newman about the significance of color within abstraction. &ldquo;We spoke about the nature of abstraction, its very essence,&rdquo; Herrera recollects. &ldquo;Barney felt strongly that abstraction needed a mythological or religious basis; I, on the other hand, wanted something clearer, less romantic and dark&rdquo; (Carmen Herrera, quoted in <em>Carmen Herrera: The Black and White Paintings,</em> exh. cat., El Museo del Barrio, New York, 1998, p. 18).<em><br /><br />Untitled (Orange and Black)</em> was created six years after Herrera&rsquo;s decisive move towards abstraction upon encountering the Bauhaus and Russian Suprematism when she and her husband moved to Paris in 1948. Color and form cannot be separated in Herrera&rsquo;s paintings. The delineation of the triangular and rectangular forms in this work demonstrates the structural and compositional significance of color in Herrera&rsquo;s abstract oeuvre, whereby color and form equally embodies or promotes the significance of the other. The visual execution of such paintings follows an analytical study of the relation between color, shape, and scale, whereby Herrera chooses color instinctively and determines the scale of the canvas only upon finalizing the color and compositional organization on paper. This reliance on color shows strong affinities with the Brazilian Concreto and Neo-Concreto movement, with the resulting dynamism and rhythm in Herrera&rsquo;s abstraction specifically anticipating H&eacute;lio Oiticica&rsquo;s abstract paintings from the late 1950s. As with Herrera&rsquo;s greatest works, it is the masterful balance of form and color that gives rise to a powerful stabilizing/destabilizing effect. Utterly captivating in both its grandeur and simplicity, <em>Untitled (Orange and Black) </em>is a powerful example of the pioneering achievements of one of the hitherto most under recognized abstract painters of the past century.

maker

Carmen Herrera

medium

acrylic on canvas, in artist's frame

makerId

316

condition

This work is in very good condition. The canvas, stretcher and attachments appear to be in generally good condition. There are very slight canvas draws to the upper and lower right corners, visible only in raking light. There are a few pinpoint paint losses to the upper left quadrant only visible under close inspection and presumably related to the artist&rsquo;s use of tape in her working method. There is slight pinpoint wear to the extreme corners of the canvas. There is a faint abrasion to the lower left corner, visible only in raking light. There are a few spots of wear and pinpoint paint losses in places to the exterior faces and corners of the frame. When examined under ultra-violet light there is no indication of inpainting.

exhibited

Long Beach, Museum of Latin American Art, <em>LA PRESENCIA: Latin American Art in the United States</em>, June 10 - August 25, 2007, no. 33, p. 101 (illustrated, p. 33)<br />S&atilde;o Paulo, Galeria de Arte do Centro Cultural Fiesp, <em>Constru&ccedil;&otilde;es Sens&iacute;veis, The Latin-American Geometric Experience</em>, April 6 - June 18, 2017<br /><br /><br />Please note this work is promised to be included in the forthcoming exhibition <em>Triangulo</em> to be held in Miami, Florida, December 7, 2017 - March 31, 2018.

extraInfo

<a href="mailto:aloiacono@phillips.com">Amanda Lo Iacono</a><br /> Head of Evening Sale<br /> New York<br /> +1 212 940 1278<br /> <a href="mailto:aloiacono@phillips.com">aloiacono@phillips.com</a><br />

dimensions

48 5/8 x 48 5/8 in. (123.5 x 123.5 cm.)

literature

Manuel Borja-Villel, <em>Pulses of Abstraction in Latin America</em>, Miami, 2012, p. 261 (illustrated)

provenance

Private Collection, Miami <br />Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2004

objectNumber

112124

lotNumberFull

33

artistBiography

<p>At the age of 101, Carmen Herrera is finally receiving long-deserved recognition for her arresting, hard-edge geometric compositions. Born in Cuba in 1915, Herrera has spent most of her life outside the island, permanently settling in New York in the mid-1950s. Herrera was formally trained as an architect at the Universidad de la Habana, and later completed studies at the Art Students League in New York from 1943 to 1945. During this time she became acquainted with key figures of postwar abstraction including Barnett Newman, whose work undoubtedly influenced Herrera&#39;s minimalist aesthetic.</p><p>Herrera&#39;s work is chiefly concerned with formal simplicity and experimentation with bold color. Through the use of sharp lines and stark color contrasts, she creates dynamic and technically sophisticated compositions that reflect movement, balance and symmetry.</p>

artistBirthYear

1915

artistNationality

Cuban / American


*Tenga en cuenta que el precio no se recalcula al valor actual, es el precio final real en el momento que fue vendido.

*Tenga en cuenta que el precio no se recalcula al valor actual, es el precio final real en el momento que fue vendido.


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