Rare Contemporary Portrait of General ‘Pancho’ Villa

62 [Mexico] Oval Oil Painting Portrait on
in the lower right, “P. Gomez, 1917.” Oval oil
portrait measures approximately 20 x 14 inches
and is housed in a custom Mexican tinwork
frame, which measures approximately 3 inches
in width around the entire portrait, and has five
raised tin rosettes (a sixth one, at the bottom of
the frame, is missing). Label of tinsmith on
verso: “Timoteo Barraza, El Estado de
Chihuahua.” Tinwork is rusted, but portrait is
generally very good.

A great patriotic portrait of one of the Heroes
of the Mexican people during the Revolution.
Pancho Villa is more well-known in the U.S. for
his attack on Columbus, New Mexico, on March
9, 1916, which instigated Pershing’s Expedition to Mexico. While Pershing chased Villa in
Mexico he went back into U.S. territory, and on the night of May 5, 1916, attacked the small community of Glen Spring, Texas (in presentday Big Bend National Park, Southwestern Brewster County) – killing four Americans (see HANDBOOK OF TEXAS 3:189 “Glenn Spring Raid”). Ironically, Maj. Gen. Funston had denied Governor Ferguson’s request for troops to be station in Big Bend to protect the citizens there. The result of the raid was that permanent cavalry camps were established at more than a dozen locations in the Big Bend, including Glenn Spring and La Noria, near Boquillas. General Villa may have had political aspirations (for President) but they ended with his assassination in 1923. Here Villa sits astride his horse, with his famous saddle depicted in the painting (showing Villa’s head; this saddle can be seen in the Villa Museum in Chihuahua). Behind Villa the rays of the sun seem to portray a new beginning for Mexicans, while his name is decorated with laurels.

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