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The Guardian view on older artists: bridging history and personal life | Editorial

Their new works may be their last, but the contribution of these maestros are still making is invaluable to our world view

Two pronouncements this week from the world of culture might appear to strike a melancholy note: the film director Ken Loach has declared that The Old Oak, which is due to premiere at next month’s Cannes film festival, may be his last film, while the artist Frank Auerbach, who currently has two shows in the UK, has said that he is in the process of making what may be his final paintings.

But turn those statements on their heads – with due consideration to the conditional “may” – and the picture changes to something worthy of celebration. Mr Loach is 86 and Mr Auerbach is 92 on Saturday, and they are still working. For all the challenges of age that both report, they continue to command the heights of their respective vocations – as does another great 92-year‑old artist Bridget Riley, who is about to unveil her first ceiling painting at the British School in Rome.

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