May 20, 2022

Mardi Soir

Mardi Soir


Carmen Herrera

(American, b. Cuba, 1915–2022)

Acrylic on canvas

106.7 x 162.6 cm (42 x 64 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2022.39

Did you know?

Carmen Herrera did not sell her first painting until she was 89 years old.


Although a groundbreaking abstract artist who worked for decades, with formal forays remarkably ahead of her male counterparts in the Minimalist and concrete art movements, Herrera’s work was underappreciated for much of her lifetime. For this reason, she did not achieve commercial success until she was in her 90s, and her first major museum retrospective occurred when she was 100. The saturated cobalt blue hue used in this painting is striking, and typical of the jewel-toned palette that the artist frequently used, off-set with black or white to create rhythmical compositions. The zig-zag pattern is indicative of the dynamism of forms, and movement beyond the painting’s frame, reinforced by the fact that the artist paints the edges of her work, as she’s done in this case. This detail entices viewers to the front of the painting, activating the three-dimensional space that connects viewer to object, and encouraging multiple vantage points (as one might experience architecture, harkening back to the artist’s training as an architect). The title is in French, translating to "Tuesday evening." This painting is part of Herrera’s larger investigation of the affective qualities of color and how they relate to time and memory.

See also
Contemporary Art
Type of artwork: 

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