The painter died Thursday of natural causes at her home in Santa Monica, a representative from her Hauser & Wirth gallery confirmed. Hurtado, named in the Time 100 list of most influential people, did not gain public recognition until a few years ago.


Luchita Hurtado was born in Venezuela in November 1920 and painted for almost eighty years of her life despite the fact that the art market took decades to recognize her talent. Her works were marked by different influences: surrealism at the beginning of the century, Mexican muralism and her commitment to environmentalism. Developing her artistic vocabulary through a coalescence of abstraction, mysticism, corporality and landscape, the breadth of her experimentation with unconventional techniques, materials and styles speak to the multicultural and experiential contexts that shaped her life and career. Hurtado emigrated to the United States in 1928, settling in New York where she attended classes at the Art Students League. She relocated to Mexico City in the late 1940s and, in the following decade, moved to San Francisco Bay, ultimately settling in Santa Monica, California and making frequent visits to her second home in Taos, New Mexico.

Hurtado passed away six months after an exhibition on her career opened in February at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, titled: “Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn”

The exhibition presents the first career survey of paintings and works on paper by multifaceted artist Luchita Hurtado (Venezuela, b. 1920). Prior to 2016, the remarkable breadth of Hurtado’s eight-decade career was virtually unknown, as her works were kept in storage and out of public view for most of her life. This exhibition introduces museum audiences to several distinct bodies of work, including Hurtado’s early forays into abstraction, her consistent use of the body as a subject, her experiments with language, and her recent engagement with issues of environment and ecology. Hurtado has lived and worked in Santa Monica since the early 1950s and in 2019 she was named to the Time 100 list of most influential people.

*cover: Luchita Hurtado takes a a self-portrait in Santa Monica in 1951.(Luchita Hurtado). Image courtesy of Los Angeles Times