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Auction Name: 2021 May 22 Texas Art Signature Auction
Lot Number: 75043
Shortcut to Lot: HA.com/8017-75043
Porfirio Salinas (American, 1910-1973)Looking 'em Over
Oil on canvas
24 x 36 inches (61.0 x 91.4 cm)
Signed lower left: Porfirio Salinas
Altermann & Morris Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico;
Private collection, Dallas.
Porfirio Salinas was born at Bastrop, Texas, in 1911. The son of tenant farmers, he was one of the first Mexican-American artists to gain national fame. Although the family soon moved to San Antonio-where his father became a railroad worker -- Salinas often returned to the Bastrop area to visit his grandmother and to sketch. He began assisting Robert William Wood in the latter's studio about 1925. Salinas accompanied Wood and Jose Arpa-with whom Wood was then studying-on plein air sketching trips in the hills surrounding San Antonio.
In 1926, Arpa founded a plein air painting school near Bandera, Texas, where he was assisted by his nephew and fellow artist, Xavier Gonzalez. It is likely Salinas was part of the Bandera School, and was probably exposed to the entries in the San Antonio Competitive Exhibitions held at the Witte Museum annually from 1927 through 1929. The initial exhibition focusing on Texas wildflowers, with its $6,000 in prize monies offered by Luling, Texas, oilman Edgar B. Davis firmly chiseled in the budding artist's mind the obsession of Texans with their native flora. (After Julian Onderdonk, no Texas artist is more identified with Texas bluebonnets.) By 1930 Salinas began to paint on his own in an Impressionistic style using fairly heavy impasto to depict the Texas landscape, genre scenes from around San Antonio, and Mexican bullfights.
Married in 1942 and drafted into the U.S. Army the following year for World War II service, Salinas used his talents to create paintings for officers and officer's clubs during his service. By the late 1940s, and largely through the efforts of colorful Austin art dealer Dewey Bradford, Salinas's career began to soar. When Lyndon B. Johnson became Vice-President of the United States in 1961, followed by his elevation to the Presidency due to the assassination of President Kennedy, Salinas's paintings were featured prominently, first in the vice-president's residence, then in The White House. President Johnson spoke frequently about his favorite painter and the demand for Salinas's paintings increased. Fittingly, Salinas died only a few months after President Johnson in 1973.
Lined with laminate backing. Under UV exam, there does not appear to be inpaint. Spots of surface soiling in the upper left quadrant. Faint craquelure in the sky. Faint stretcher bar lines.
Framed Dimensions 34 X 46 Inches
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