Luchita Hurtado, Artist Who Became a Sensation in Her 90s, Dies at 99

Luchita Hurtado, Artist Who Became a Sensation in Her 90s, Dies at 99

Luchita Hurtado, Artist Who Became a Sensation in Her 90s, Dies at 99

Luchita Hurtado, Artist Who Became a Sensation in Her 90s, Dies at 99

Luchita Hurtado, an artist whose paintings and drawings emphasized the interconnectedness of all living things with a visionary intensity that was almost shamanic, but whose work was recognized by the art world only late in her life, died on Thursday night at her home in Santa Monica, Calif. She was 99.

Her gallery representative, Andrea Schwan, confirmed the death.

A near-contemporary and friend of Frida Kahlo, Isamu Noguchi and Agnes Martin, among other prominent modern artists, the Venezuelan-born Ms. Hurtado was an active participant in the art scenes of New York, Mexico City, Taos, N.M., and Los Angeles, where she had lived since 1951.

Her work spanned Surrealism, Mexican muralism, feminism and environmentalism, and she was associated with Dynaton, a group of mystically minded abstract artists, among them her second husband, the Austrian-Mexican Wolfgang Paalen, and her third husband, the American Lee Mullican. Yet her art was rarely exhibited until the 1970s, and then only sporadically and in small venues until she was in her 90s, when Mr. Mullican’s studio manager came across a vast archive of her paintings and drawings.

Working in graphite, watercolor, ink and acrylic, Ms. Hurtado depicted bodies — her own, as well as totemic figures — merging with landscapes and interiors in electric expressions of rootedness and communality. She sought out diverse sources of inspiration, including ancient traditions — cave paintings at Lascaux, France; Olmec heads in La Venta, Mexico; tribal dances in Taos — as well as mid-20th-century schools of abstraction.


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