Mexican painter Jose Luis Cuevas, who made his mark by breaking with the hyper-nationalist tradition of the country’s muralists of the 1930s and 1940s, died on Monday. He was 83. President Enrique Pena Nieto announced Cuevas’ passing but did not give a cause of death.
Muralists of that time like Diego Rivera idealized the working class, peasants and Mexico’s indigenous past. But Cuevas was known for his twisted, distorted depictions of the human form, both in painting and sculpture.
Cuevas was best known for his 1950s manifesto “The Nopal Curtain,” and a “temporary” mural he erected on a billboard in 1967, and took down a month later. Both were a reaction to the somewhat ponderous, stereotyped images that prevailed in Mexico’s school of mural painting.
Pena Nieto said in his Twitter account that Cuevas “will always be remembered as a synonym of universality, freedom, creation.”