Luchita Hurtado, painter who gained greater fame later in life, has died, aged 99

Luchita Hurtado in her Santa Monica home and studio Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Oresti Tsonopoulos

Luchita Hurtado, the Venezuelan-born painter who gained international recognition in her 90s, has died at age 99. While Hurtado painted since she was young, her fame came late in life, though when it finally arrived it did so uproariously. “At 99 youve lived a long time and youve been different people,” the artist told The Art Newspaper in an interview earlier this year, when a major retrospective of her work opened at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art. “When I was 30, I was one person. At 60, I was someone else. Now at 99, Im another person entirely.”

Hurtado held her first solo show in 1974 in Grandview One Gallerys Womans Building, and did not have a second one for more than 40 years until, in 2016, the nonagenarian artist held a small exhibition of drawings and paintings from the 1940s and 50s at Los Angeless Park View Gallery. The show received a glowing write-up from The Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight, who praised the works “salutary visual grit”, noting that it “was multicultural before multicultural was cool”.

Then in 2018, a suite of the artists paintings from 1960s and 70s were featured prominently at the Hammer Museums Made in L.A. show—Hurtados first inclusion in a major biennial, at age 97. These paintings, many of which were self-portraits in which the artists body was rendered like a landscape, with breasts and feet acting as mountains against geometric backdrops that recall Latin American textiles, rightly soaked up a great deal of attention. That same year, the international gallery Hauser & Wirth began representing Hurtado, and the following year her first major museum retrospective, I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn, was organised by Hans Ulrich Obrist and opened at Londons Serpentine Galleries. The retrospective travelled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and was intended to continue on to the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, but was canceled there due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Luchita Hurtado, Untitled (1970), oil on canvas © Luchita Hurtado, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Jeff McLane

Hurtado was born in 1920 and lived outside of Caracas until she was eight years old, at which point her family moved to New York. She lived and worked throughout New York, Mexico City, the San Francisco Bay Area and Taos, New Mexico, before moving to the Santa Monica neighbourhood of Los Angeles in 1951, where she remained for the rest of her life. Though her commercial success came late, Hurtado cemented herself in artistic circles around the world—she posed for Man Ray (the portrait can be seen in this Art21 studio tour), and forged friendships with Frida Kahlo, Isamu Noguchi and Leonora Carrington, among others. Luchitas third husband was the American artist Lee Mullican, whose died in 1998, and the couple are survived by their two sons, Matt (also an artist) and John, as well as their two grandchildren, Cosmo and Lucy.

If there is one great theme to Hurtados enormous body of work, it is the cosmic unity of all things. “When I first saw photographs ofRead More – Source

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