"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Sunday, December 17, 2017


This fiberglass sculpture on a steel armature, Vaquero, modeled in 1980 and cast in 1990, by Luis Jiménez stands in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC.
“Luis Jiménez began making monumental sculptures in the midst of the Latino civil rights movement. He dedicated himself to contemporary subjects that represented a racially diverse and working class America. Vaquero, which means cowboy in Spanish, is one of his most celebrated works.

Jiménez’s Vaquero depicts an anonymous Mexican American cowboy in colorful and glossy fiberglass, a material more associated with low riders and hot rods. Jiménez intentionally titled his sculpture Vaquero to emphasize the Spanish and Mexican roots of this classic American icon.  ‘Spaniards brought cattle and horses [to North America],’ the artist once recalled, ‘and Mexicans developed the whole notion of being cowboys.’ The artist thought it was especially fitting that Vaquero came to permanently reside in the nation’s capital, a city known for its abundant equestrian public sculpture.” – SAAM
“The monumental sculpture Vaquero confronts popular stereotypes of the cowboy while connecting this classic symbol of America to its Mexican origins. Luis Jiménez is known for his reinterpretations of images associated with the American West and Mexican-American culture. In Vaquero, he wanted to update the traditional equestrian statue. In the composition, horse and rider are inseparable — extensions of a dramatic curve and countercurve. The sculpture is constructed of fiberglass, a material that Jiménez used frequently. The bright colors and glossy finish recall movie marquees, a reminder of how much movies have influence what we know about the American cowboy.” -- SAAM

Luis Jimenez

1980 A/5

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