The time that remains…
Georgia O’Keeffe in 1971 (photo: J Krementz)
Everyone knows about Georgia O’Keeffe. Born in 1887, she was 29 when her art career took off, supported by Alfred Stieglitz, her mentor, art dealer, and as of 1924 when she was 37, husband. By that time she had become recognized as one of America’s most important and successful artists. Stieglitz died in 1946 when O’Keeffe was almost 60. Three years later, O’Keeffe moved from New York to New Mexico where she continued a stellar career for the next 35 years, until failing eyesight forced her to retire two years before her death in 1986 at the age of 98.
Agnes Martin in 1994 (photo Chris Felver)
Perhaps less well known is Agnes Martin. Agnes Martin was born in 1912 in Macklin, Saskatchewan, Canada, and grew up in Vancouver. She moved to the United States in 1932, where she studied and taught art. Her first solo exhibition took place in 1958 when she was 46 and by 1966, she was a highly influential abstract painter. In 1967, at the age of 55, Martin stopped painting. She too relocated to New Mexico, where she didn’t begin painting again until seven years later. From that time until her death in 2004 at the age of 92, she worked steadily and exhibited regularly, as well as receiving a number of international publications and awards.
Doris McCarthy in 2004 (photo: Fred Lum)
Doris McCarthy was born in 1910 in Calgary, though she spent most of her artistic life in Toronto. She attended art college from age 16 to 20, and made her living as a high school art teacher until she retired at 62 in 1972. Though she had painted and exhibited as much as possible throughout her teaching career, it was retirement that finally freed her to fully develop the art that advanced the Canadian landscape tradition, that was widely exhibited nationally and internationally, and that brought her the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, as well as numerous fellowships and honorary doctorates. McCarthy published the first volume of her autobiography in 1990 at the age of 80, the second volume a year later, and the final volume in 2004 when she was 94 years of age. She continued to paint until 2004, and she died at home at the age of 100 in 2010.
Carmen Herrera in 2012 (photo by Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu)
Carmen Herrera was born in 1915. After six decades of painting privately, she sold her first painting in 2004 when she was 89. Her artworks, considered important milestones in the evolution of the geometric minimalism movement, are now
Do any of us know if the best of our art lives is still ahead? Of course not. But maybe the more important question is, what will we do with the remaining time we have?
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