Cuevas, José Luis

Cuevas, José Luis,

1934–2017, Mexican expressionist painter and sculptor, b. Mexico City. He was essentially self-taught, his influences ranging from BruegelBruegel,
or Breughel
, outstanding family of Flemish genre and landscape painters. The foremost, Pieter Bruegel, the Elder, c.
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 and GoyaGoya y Lucientes, Francisco José de
, 1746–1828, Spanish painter and graphic artist. Goya is generally conceded to be the greatest painter of his era. Early Life and Work

After studying in Zaragoza and Madrid and then in Rome, Goya returned c.
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 to PosadaPosada, José Guadalupe
, 1852–1913, Mexican artist. Of peasant stock, he became one of the greatest popular artists of the Americas and influenced the generation of Orozco and Rivera.
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 and GroszGrosz, George
, 1893–1959, German-American caricaturist, draughtsman, and painter, b. Berlin. Before and during World War I he contributed drawings on proletarian themes to Illustration and other German periodicals. He was associated with the Dada group at that time.
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. Cuevas rebelled against the previous generation of Mexican nationalist muralists that included Diego RiveraRivera, Diego
, 1886–1957, Mexican mural painter, studied as a youth with Posada and other Mexican painters; husband of Frida Kahlo. The native sculpture of Mexico deeply impressed him.
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 and David Alfaro SiqueirosSiqueiros, David Alfaro
, 1896–1974, Mexican painter, b. Chihuahua. Siqueiros was among Mexico's most original and eminent painters. His career as an artist was always related to his vigorous socialist revolutionary activities.
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, considering them falsely picturesque and humanistic, and untrue to the Mexican experience. He expounded this view in the manifesto Cactus Curtain (1956) and other writings. He was a superb draftsman, and his paintings are almost exclusively elegant ink drawings, some with tonal washes, which distort and deform human figures, often placing them in frightening settings, a dark vision that to Cuevas represented contemporary humanity's solitude, suffering, and inability to communicate. He was also a skilled printmaker, known particularly for his mid-1960s prints concerned with the Marquis de Sade. In the latter part of his career he turned to sculpture, producing bronzes, e.g., the monumental figure, La Giganta, created for the 1992 opening of the José Luis Cuevas Museum in Mexico City. His work is in many international collections.
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