SANTA MONICA—Luchita Hurtado, an artist whose works spanned Surrealism, Mexican muralism, feminism and environmentalism died at the age of 99 on Thursday, August 13. She passed away at her home in Santa Monica, confirmed her gallery representative, Andrea Schwan.
Luchita Hurtado had been making art with unconventional techniques, materials and styles over 80 years, investigating universality and transcendence. Her artworks are independent and unique, though she associated with a network of internationally renowned artists, said international art gallery Hauser and Wirth.
Hurtado was born in Maiquetía in Venezuela in 1920, and she moved to New York and started attending the classes at the Art Students League in 1928. She moved to Mexico City in the late 1940s and to the San Francisco Bay. She settled in Santa Monica, California, according to Hauser and Wirth.
Her style of artwork was in an output defined by surrealism, biomorphism and geometric abstraction, often in brightly hued palettes with striking expressive range, in her early career from the 1940s to the 1960s. Hurtado’s work continued to evolve throughout the 1960s and 1970s, shifting towards representative figuration that led to a production of contemplative self-portraits known as her ‘I Am’ paintings, said Hauser and Wirth.
Following the ‘I Am’ paintings series, a group of surrealist ‘Body Landscapes’ and ‘Sky Skin’ series in the 1970s were published. Her works in this period were influenced by Hurtado’s newly reinforced feminist ideals and involvement with the Los Angeles Council of Women Artists. Many members of the group would later form the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles, where the Hurtado’s first solo exhibition was hosted in 1974.
Hurtado was listed in TIME’s 100 most influential people in 2019, as Hauser and Wirth announced on Instagram in April 2019. She was also awarded the Americans for the Arts Carolyn Clark Powers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. ‘I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn’ at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London in 2019 was Hurtado’s first solo museum exhibition, when the artist was already 98 years old. The exhibition was also open at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in February 2020.