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José Luis Cuevas dies; renowned Mexican painter was 83

Mexican artist José Luis Cuevas was known for

Mexican artist José Luis Cuevas was known for a style that depicted distorted human forms in painting and sculpture. Cuevas died on Monday, July 3, 2017, at age 83. Credit: EPA / STR

MEXICO CITY — Mexican painter José 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 Peña 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.

Peña Nieto said on his Twitter account that Cuevas “will always be remembered as a synonym of universality, freedom, creation.”

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