Jose Luis Cuevas was born in Mexico City in 1934. One of his earliest memories was of a collection of puppets that hung from his crib. The puppets, “broad of trunk and thin of limb”, served as the models for the people he drew as a child and still draws today. Cuevas’ family lived over a paper mill and the young boy spent hours each day drawing with charcoal on paper trimmings. He has always been fascinated with the various textures of papers and lovingly brings them out with muted colors.

Cuevas attended the National School of Painting and Sculpture in Mexico City for a single term but he quickly rejected its traditional methods which “work equally well for portraying a man with a bandana, and Indian woman selling flowers in the market…or one of those mother-and-child scenes which have been turned out for more than thirty years.”

In the early 1950’s Cuevas and several other young Mexican artists opened the Prisse Gallery in Mexico City. There he had his first one-man show in 1953. The following year, he had a one-man show at the Pan-American Union in Washington, D.C. In 1956, he began teaching art at the Universidad Iberoamericano. Cuevas has exhibited widely in the United States and Latin America. He was the winner of the First International Drawing Prize at the Fifth Sao Paulo Biennale and was awarded first prize at the VII Mostra Internazionale de Bianco e Nero in 1963.


  • Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Hirshhorn Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Pan American Union Art Collection, Washington, D.C.
  • Munson Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York
  • Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, California
  • Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada
  • Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City
  • Museo de Bellar Artes, Caracas
  • Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota
  • Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
  • Publications and books illustrated by Cuevas:
  • Cuevas por Cuevas, Mexico City 1965
  • Cuevario, Mexico City 1973
  • The World of Kafka and Cuevas, Philadelphia 1959
  • Recollections of Childhood, Los Angeles, 1962

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