Jesus Fuertes, 68; Spanish Cubist Painter Was Picasso Protege

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Jesus Fuertes, 68, a cubist painter and Pablo Picasso protege whose works have been exhibited in prominent museums around the world, died of a heart attack June 18 in Miami, a family spokeswoman said.

Born in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, Fuertes was exposed to great artists early in life because his father associated with surrealist Salvador Dali and poet-dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca. Dali introduced the younger Fuertes to Andre Breton, the father of the surrealist movement, who became his benefactor, according to Fuertes' biography on his website.

Fuertes met Picasso in France and delved into neo-cubism, mixing geometric shapes with bright colors. Several of his most well-known works involve the use of stunning shades of blue, earning him the moniker "Painter of Blue." He often chose women or cats as his subject matter.

After first showing his works in Berlin and New York, Fuertes won a top award in Rome for his "Torneo Medieval" in 1963. He moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1979, then to Miami, where he established a studio in 1979.

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