The Tender Beauty Of Aging with Alice and Richard Matzkin

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Alice and Richard Matzkin are aging lovers. She’s seventy, he’s sixty-six. They’re also artists whose work truly is an expression of their lives. Most recently they’ve been applying their gifts to express the beauty—yes, the beauty—of aging, and they do it with the tenderness they’ve learned in their twenty-seven years of loving each other. Through their work they’ve discovered an unexpected joy when the body and spirit ripen to wisdom not available to the young. As Richard sculpts a series of aging lovers, he revels in “The sweetness of older, mature love, that is like the comfort of an old shoe, if it’s right. There are no pinches or calluses. It fits beautifully.” As Alice paints women in their eighties and beyond, she finds a key to her own happiness. “The lines and the wrinkles and sagging skin is just the story of a person’s years. It’s just their history written on their face. It has nothing to do with real beauty, because I’ve found that the real beauty comes from –it sounds corny, but it’s true—it’s the light that shines within a person.” With the insight of these two gifted artists, we may find that, if we’re lucky, our lives can imitate their art. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Alice Matzkin has appeared on Oprah and her portraits have hung in the White House and in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian. Richard Matzkin has had numerous one-man shows, and his sculptures are in collections throughout the United States.

They are co-authors of the Nautilus Award winning book:

To learn more about the work of Alice and Richard Matzkin go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What the single most frightening thing is about aging
  • Why wrinkles and sagging skin really do have nothing to do with beauty—or a lack thereof
  • What qualities allow some people to age more gracefully than others
  • How you can become closer to the older people in your life
  • Why it's important to be with our elders

Host: Justine Willis Toms       Interview Date: 2/25/2010         Program Number: 3344

Music Playlist

From Album: The Lark's Bride
Artist: Radhika Miller and Eugene Friesen
1987 Radhika Miller Music #RMM 1107

Opening Essay: Track 01 The Lark's Bride
Music Break 1: Track 01 The Lark's Bride (reprise)
Music Break 2: Track 03 Skylarking
Music Break 3: Track 03 Skylarking (reprise)