Luis Hernández Cruz

Luis Hernández Cruz is an essential figure in the development of Puerto Rican art in the second half of the twentieth century. He has been the pioneer of abstract art in Puerto Rico and one of the most important representatives of abstraction in Latin America. 

Painter, sculptor, printmaker, and teacher. Hernández Cruz studied at the University of Puerto Rico under Cristóbal Ruiz and obtained a master of fine arts from the American University in Washington, D.C.  He has taught at the Puerto Rico School of Plastic Arts and at the University of Puerto Rico, where he also directed the Museum of Anthropology and History. After a brief, early insistence on geometry as an essential element in his art (1966–1968), his work developed into a more organic abstraction during the seventies and eighties, although it then gradually returned to a pure geometrical abstraction in the nineties. Recently he has also explored more lyrical, less rigidly abstract elements. One element that has distinguished his work throughout his career is his masterly use of color.


“My works are not preconceived, they are a challenge, since I don’t’ know what will emerge from the canvas. As the handwriting of a teenager changes with time, thus changes the color as it is applied, retaining only the idea of color. The shades from the diverse colors start invading the canvas or paper, and start turning into something subjective; it’s the artist’s ultimate moment, when, aside from technique, feels he’s creating something his own. And almost unconsciously, the artist knows when he has reached the final stage of his work, and declares it finished.

Luís Hernández Cruz,” 1964