Luchita Hurtado had to wait until she was 98 for her first solo museum show. Apart from a couple of smaller solo showings, one in 1974 and another in 2016, this was her only individual public showing.
We have seen a number of women artists receive long-overdue recognition, but none as surprising as the 80-year-long career of the indomitable Venezuelan-American artist Luchita Hurtado.
She started making art in her teens, kept on during marriages, motherhood, and multiple re-locations. Born in Venezuela, she moved to NYC in 1928 with her family. She eventually married twice, worked for a short time as a fashion illustrator for Condé Nast, and lived in Mexico City, NYC, Washington, and Los Angeles. For the last 49 years she lived in Santa Monica, California. Her circle of friends over the years included an amazing range of writers, photographers and artists: Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró, Luis Buñuel, and Roberto Matta.
She was constantly bringing in new experiences and producing new works. As she once said, “the whole of life’s experience” is what went into her work. After decades of obscurity, she is now in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum, MOMA, The Hammer Museum, and The British Museum. In 2019 she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.