Jose Luis Cuevas Biography

Jose Luis Cuevas




Jose Luis Cuevas was born in Mexico City on February 26, 1934. A self-taught painter, sketch artist and printmaker, he was primarily active in Mexico but also worked in New York, France, and Spain. His most characteristic works portray drawings of misshapen creatures and misery in the contemporary world. Cuevas began showing artistic talent early on, and briefly attended the Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura 'La Esmeralda' in Mexico City. He later studied graphic arts at the Institucin de Enseanza Universitaria in Mexico City.

During the 1950s, in his early years with the Galera Prisse in Mexico City, he joined a group of young artists called the "Rupture-Generation", including Alberto Gironella, Enrique Echeverri, Pedro Coronel, Manuel Felgurez and Francisco Icaza. This politically-active group became opposed to the socialist artists favoured by the Government and rebelled against the official social-content mural art and became active in defining the contemporary artistic panorama of Mexico.

In 1953 he had his first exhibition at the Galera Prisse; and the following year exhibited at the Pan American Union, Washington, DC. He was subsequently invited to work in various workshops worldwide, including the Tamarind Workshop in Los Angeles, CA, and Poligrafa in Barcelona in 1981. While in Mexico, he worked at the Taller Kyron, among others.

Cuevas exhibited in solo shows in Washington, Paris, New York, Rome, Venice, Sao Paulo, Vienna, Madrid, Santiago. Awards included the Drawing Prize at the V Biennial of Sao Paulo (1959), the National Prize of Science and Art of Mexico- the highest distinction of the Mexican Government for scientists and artists (1981); bestowed the Ordre des Artes et des Lettres award from the French government, 1991.

In 1997 he received the Tomas Francisco Prieto Award in Engraving bestowed by Queen Sofia, Madrid, Spain. Cuevas also wrote a weekly column in Excelsior, one of the main news publications of Mexico City. The Jose Luis Cuevas Museum in Mexico City honors his contribution to art with a contemporary collection of his work. 

Cuevas died in Mexico City on July 3rd, 2017.