The recent deaths of Cy Twombly and Lucien Freud got me thinking about elderly working artists. I remember being really impressed by an exhibition of late Patrick Heron paintings in the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny many years ago. And the major De Kooning Retrospective at the Tate in 1995 showed that some of his best work was made when he was in his late 70’s and into his 80’s. Controversy surrounded the last paintings made when he was suffering from Alheimer’s disease. He died in 1997 aged 92. The recent acceptance of the ‘provisional’ or unfinishedness within current painting practice suggests an interesting context from which to re-assess De Kooning’s late paintings.
I started a list of oldies working at the moment – Maria Lassnig (92), Richard Artschwager (88), Ellsworth Kelly (88), Alex Katz (84), Ida Applebroog (82) showed recently at Hauser & Wirth, Raoul de Keyser (81), Robert Ryman (81), Jasper Johns (81), Bridget Reilly (80), Gerhard Richter (79) website here, Howard Hodgkin (79) interviewed recently at San Diego Museum of Art, and Barrie Cooke (80) currently a retrospective at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Relative youngsters Vija Celmins (73) and David Hockney (74) continue to make interesting work. Other suggestions welcome. Please leave a comment.
Posted by Robert Armstrong