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Cuban-born artist Carmen Herrera says she's still bursting with ideas she wants to put on canvas, but the centenarian doesn't feel any urgency to hurry.This month, Herrera's work will be featured at Art Basel in Switzerland and in October at the Frieze Masters art fair in London.During a late-morning interview at her modest but cheerful apartment in a three-story walk-up on East 19th Street in Manhattan, the silver-haired artist sipped scotch on the rocks and tapped her elegant long fingers against a wooden table as she animatedly talked about her life and career. She alternated between English and Spanish, which Bechara translated.Bechara said he and other artists who lived in her neighborhood in the 1960s and '70s "knew she had something important and we all wondered how come she wasn't getting the recognition".Her big break came when she was included in a show in 2004 at the Latin Collector gallery in Manhattan, thanks to Bechara. Gallery owner Frederico Seve complained to Bechara over dinner one day that one of three Latin American geometric painters had pulled out of an upcoming exhibition. Bechara introduced him to Herrera. Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, a collector with a Miami art foundation bearing her name, bought five paintings.The Lisson Gallery, which represents Herrera, became interested in her work after its owner saw it at a London exhibition.
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