Born in Uzerche, France, in 1929. He lives and works in Montmagny, near Paris. In 1947, while working in different trades, Henri Cueco studies drawing in the academy La Grande Chaumière in Paris. In 1952 he participates in the Salon de la Jeune Peinture and immediately afterwards becomes part of the jury and the Jeune Peinture committee (1952-1972). In order to “break with society, to marginalize oneself, one has to be like Picasso and Fernand Léger”; he joins the Communist Party (1954-1976). After that he becomes cofounder of the Coopérative des Malassis (1969-1979), a cooperative that seeks to inscribe the work of art in a political and social critical context. Up until 2001 he teaches painting at l’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
In his first years, Henri Cueco talks about “the relationship of man with nature” and paints still lifes, portraits and landscapes. Since 1962, his “paintings transform constantly”. Cycles follow one after another: Les Mariés (1962); Les Rivières (1963); Femme et Chien (1965); Les Hommes Rouges (1970), etc. With the Coopérative des Malassis (Fleury, Latil, Parré, Tisserand and Zeimert) he creates large collective pieces (L’Affaire Gabriel Russier; Les affaires reprennent). Later on he moves to Corrèze, “determined to start all over again” (1976-1977). He “draws what is nearer [to him], by his feet, the grass on the field in front of the studio”. He writes Dialogue avec mon jardinier (Conversations with my gardener), that will be turned into a movie in 2007. He travels, draws and paints landscapes. He starts creating the l’Imagier: paintings of common, everyday objects (1985-1986), and Hommes et Sols d’Afrique (1987-1992). He paints “men and women working or resting”, reproducing on his paintings effects common in the serigraphic process. From 1987 to 1993, he paints 160 small “portraits” of Pommes de terre (potatoes). In 1989, he sees “that nightmare that appears in the form of a pack of hounds” and creates the series Chiens de Saqqarah, which is followed by Meutes (1991-1993) and Bestiaire avec les serpents (1991-1994). Since 1995 he becomes interested in the Peinture de la peinture, and paints variations of works of artists such as Poussin or Philippe de Champaigne, or landscapes from nature.