Luchita Hurtado

Photo: Luchita Hurtado

Born in Maiquetía, Venezuela, in 1920, Luchita Hurtado has dedicated seventy years of her painting and drawing practice to the investigation of universality and transcendence. 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 have 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, making frequent visits to Taos, New Mexico, and ultimately settling in Los Angeles.

Although she associated with a vast network of internationally renowned artists and intellectuals, including members of Dynaton, Mexican muralists, and Surrealists, Hurtado’s practice has always remained an independent pursuit. Her body of work is cohered through an examination of self-affirmation, introduced in her early period from the 1940s to the 1960s in an output defined by surrealist figuration, biomorphism and geometric abstraction, executed in brightly hued palettes with striking expressive range. Hurtado’s work continued to evolve throughout the 1960s and 1970s, demonstrating a marked shift toward naturalistic representation and figuration that led to a production of contemplative self-portraits known as her ‘I am’ paintings. Asserting her presence through a personal perspective of the body— rendered from above at skewed angles— Hurtado coalesces our gaze with hers, creating a depth of field activated by the unexpected position of the floor as a backdrop, juxtaposing soft corporeal lines against the hard edge geometric patterns of a Southwestern rug. This series was followed by a group of surrealist Body Landscapes wherein the human figure assumes the form of mountains and desert sand dunes. Functioning as a symbolic proxy and an intimate meditation on the Earth as mystic progenitor, these works underscore the interconnection between corporeality and the natural world— a delicate balance that is now in jeopardy. Hurtado recognizes the urgency of this ecological crisis and her environmental advocacy continues to inform and suffuse the ever-expansive visual language of her work.


Born Maiquetía, Venezuela, 1920

Resides Lives and works in Los Angeles CA

Solo Exhibitions

2019 Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, England
Hauser & Wirth, 'Dark Years', New York NY

2017 Annenberg Community Beach House, ‘Figures and Icons’, Santa Monica CA

2016 Park View, ‘Luchita Hurtado. Selected Works, 1942-1950’, Los Angeles CA

1974 The Woman’s Building, ‘Luchita Hurtado. Grandview One’, Los Angeles CA

Group Exhibitions

2019 Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz, ‘Material Actions’, St. Moritz, Switzerland

2018 Hammer Museum, ‘Made in L.A. 2018’, (cur. Anne Ellegood, Erin Christovale), Los Angeles CA
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, ‘Summer Nocturne: Works on Paper from the 1970s’, Santa Barbara CA
Matthew Marks Gallery, ‘Painting: Now and Forever, Part III’, New York NY
The Gallery @ Michael’s, Santa Monica CA
Hannah Hoffman Gallery, ‘Gallery Share’, Los Angeles CA

2016 Night Club, ‘Home’, Chicago IL

2007 Track 16, ‘Women Artists of Southern California Then and Now’, (cur. Bruria Finkel), Santa Monica CA

2004 Arena 1, ‘Santa Monica Originals’, Santa Monica CA

1994 Carnegie Art Museum, ‘The Mystical in Art: Chicano/Latino Painting’, (cur. Frank Romero), Oxnard CA

1990 Transamerica Galleries, ‘West by Southwest’, (cur. Patrick H. Ela), Los Angeles CA

1972 Long Beach Museum of Art, ‘Invisible/Visible’, (cur. Dextra Frankel), Long Beach CA

1958 Art Center, 'The Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Paul Wescher', La Jolla CA


2018 Hammer Museum, ‘Patterns Found in the World: Luchita Hurtado and Andrianna Campbell’, Los Angeles CA
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, ‘Luchita Hurtado in Conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist’, Los Angeles CA

2015 Equitable Vitrines, ‘Luchita Hurtado and Chris Wiley in Conversation’, Los Angeles CA

2013 Les FIgues Press, ‘Farewell to Surrealism. Luchita Hurtado in Conversation with Annette Leddy’, Venice CA


Selected Publications

2018 Ellegood, Anne, Christovale, Erin, ‘Made In L.A. 2018’, Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, 2018 (exh. cat.)

2016 Hopkins, David (ed.), ‘A Companion to Dada and Surrealism’, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2016

1985 Albright, Thomas, ‘Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-1980, An Illustrated History’, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985

1972 ___, ‘Invisible/Visible: 21 Artists’, Long Beach: Long Beach Museum of Art, 1972 (exh. cat.)

Selected Press

2019 Whyte, Murray, ‘At the MFA, a new show confronts centuries of sexism – including the museum’s own’, on:, 19 September 2019
__, ‘Luchita Artworks are views from the top’, on:, 24 May 2019
__, ‘London artist hosts first gallery exhibition aged 98’, on:, 24 May 2019
Shaw, Anny, ‘David Hockney and Luchita Hurtado named in Time 100 list of most influential people’, on:, 18 April 2019
ElGenaidi, Deena, ‘LACMA Acquires Eight New Works, and Harvard Museums Receive 70 Otto Piene Sketchbooks’, on:, 18 April 2019

2018 Cotter, Holland, ‘Los Angeles Welcomes You’, in: The New York Times, 16 August 2018, p. C11
Smith, Roberta, ‘Fresh Broad Strokes Of an Incomplete Survey’, in: The New York Times, 2 August 2018, p. C13
Obrist, Hans Ulrich, ‘The Last Surrealist’, in: 032c, Summer 2018, pp. 130-139
Wagley, Catherine, ‘The Way Men Never See Women. The Rediscovered Paintings of Luchita Hurtado’, in: Flash Art, No. 321, Vol. 51, June-August 2018, pp. 58-65

(cont'd) Riefe, Jordan, ‘Ambitious, Diverse and Topical: “Made in L.A. 2018” Is the Biennial We Need Right Now’, on:, 8 June 2018
Stapley-Brown, Victoria, ‘From Riga to Los Angeles, biennials are searching for answers in troubled times’, in: The Art Newspaper, 5 June 2018
Greenberger, Alex, ‘Matthew Marks and Greene Naftali Galleries to Organize Four-Venue, 46-Artist Painting Survey’, on:, 4 June 2018
Stromberg, Matt, ‘Resolutely Political LA Artists Focus on the Body in the City’s Latest Biennial’, on:, 4 June 2018
Alpert, Adrienne, ’97-year-old artist featured in “Made in LA” exhibit at Hammer Museum in Westwood’, on:, 28 May 2018
Hirschowitz, Gabé, ‘Philanthropist Lynda Resnick on the Hammer Museum & Why LA is the New Art Capital’, on:, 17 May 2018
___, ‘Getting Their Due’, on:, 30 April 2018
Griffin, Jonathan, ‘Los Angeles Gallery Share’, on:, 28 March 2018
Crippa, Karim, ‘Five Shows in March’, on:, 26 March 2018
Miranda, Carolina, ‘Datebook: The city abstracted at CAAM, an architectural film festival and meditating at the museum’, on:, 9 March 2018
Cascone, Sarah, ‘From 200 Studio Visits to 32 Names: Curator Anne Ellegood on Choosing Artists for the Hammer’s “Made in LA” Biennial’, on:, 15 February 2018
___, ‘Anuncian Artistas De La Bienal Made in L.A. 2018’, on:, 14 February 2018
Vankin, Deborah, ‘Hammer Museum announces artists for “Made in L.A. 2018”; expect the biennial to get political’, on:, 13 February 2018
Dúron, Maximilíano, ‘Here’s the “Made in L.A. 2018” Artist List’, on:, 13 February 2018
___, ‘Hammer Museum Announces Participating Artists for 2018 Made in LA Biennial’, on:, 13 February 2018

2017 Casuso, Jorge, ‘Artist Luchita Hurtado’s Enchanted Works on Display in Santa Monica’, on:, 17 November 2017
Ezquiaga, Mercedes, ‘Las mujeres protagonizaron las ventas de arteBA 2017’, on:, 27 May 2017
Wagley, Catherine G., ‘A Life’s Work: As Her Reputation Surges, Luchita Hurtado Discusses Her Long Career’, on:, 20 January 2017

2016 Knight, Christopher, ‘Luchita Hurtado abstract artworks mix cultures like colors, to rousing effect’, in: Los Angeles Times, 28 December 2016
Stromberg, Matt, ‘Best of 2016: Our Top 10 Los Angeles Art Shows’, on:, 28 December 2016
Drohojowska-Philp, Hunter, ‘Wrapping up 2016 with art’, on:, 22 December 2016
Campbell, Andrianna, ‘Luchita Hurtado. 500 Words’, on:, 1 December 2016
Wagley, Catherine, ‘5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week’, in: LA Weekly, 23 November 2016
Stromberg, Matt, ‘ArtRx LA’, on:, 8 November 2016

2005 Heffley, Lynne, ‘The patron of their arts’, in: Los Angeles Times, 13 November 2005

1994 Woodard, Josef, ‘SIGHTS: Exhibit of Latino Works Has a Mystical Quality: Paintings at Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard are in different styles, but all portray expressions of inner life’, in: Los Angeles Times, 12 May 1994

1973 Ianco-Starrels, Josine, ‘Beckmann Graphics Open Program’, in: Los Angeles Times, 9 September 1973, pp. 63, 65

1972 Wilson, William, ‘A Vague Unfreedom in Feminist Works’, in: Los Angeles Times, 9 April 1972, p. 56


2019 London Live TV, 06.09.19, 6 September 2019, (James Nicholls and Tanya Francis review Luchita Hurtado ‘I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn’ at Serpentine Gallery)

Selected Images

The Umbilical Cord of the Earth is the Moon

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