The image shows a drawing of Juan de Oñate by Jose Cisneros.
Oñate is regarded as the founder of the first European settlement west of the Mississippi and celebrator of the first American Thanksgiving in 1598 on the Rio Grande. Today, his figure is in dispute because of his savageries and his brutality, especially against Native Americans.

Jose Cisneros (1919-2009) was an illustrator and historian. He gained international reputation with pen-and-ink illustrations of Mexican, American and Spanish history.
Born in Villa Ocampo, Durango, in 1910, the family was forced to leave Mexico during the Mexican Revolution and eventually settled in El Paso-Juárez in 1925. Cisneros taught himself to read, write, draw and paint. He dropped out of the Lydia Patterson Institute after 5th grade to work in a grocery store to support his family. He then worked in a department store where he met his wife Vicenta, with whom he had five daughters. He enlisted in the Army and painted buses for El Paso Electric Co. and El Paso City Lines. At night, he worked in his studio.
Although Cisneros experienced cruelty and many setbacks during his childhood, these personal memories did not shape his artistic vision. Instead, he focused on centuries-old subjects: Color-blind since birth, Cisneros illustrated more than 300 historical books and publications. Stories of the United States-Mexico border and the Southwest burst alive with Cisneros' touch and meticulous attention to detail. His favorite subjects were pen-and-ink drawings of horses and Spanish horsemen. He is regarded as a legend for his sketches of Spanish conquistadores, Franciscan missionaries, frontier settlers and Apache warriors. For example, he drew Juan de Onate and the historic missions San Elizario and Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (they can be viewed on the Digital Wall database as well).
Cisnero is regarded as essential in bringing Southwestern history alive and in commemorating it.
He won numerous awards; among them the National Humanities Medal for his work as an artist and historian (awarded by President Bush in 2002), and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Wrangler Award in 1985 for his book, "Riders Across the Centuries." Cisneros was also given Mexico's Ohtli award, which is presented to a person whose efforts improve the lives of Mexican nationals living abroad. In 1991, King Juan Carlos of Spain knighted Cisneros for his contribution to the understanding of history through his art.
Timid about speaking in public, Cisneros was a devout Catholic who went to Mass daily. The El Paso artist Tom Lea was one of his friends, and he also advised John Houser, creator of "The Equestrian" sculpture at El Paso International Airport.
Colleagues, collectors and political leaders have named him one of the most influential artists ever to emerge from the Southwest. The modest, disciplined and humanitarian artist died with 99 years of age in El Paso.


Uploaded on 01.16.2015 by UTEP Library Special Collections

Out of Area / Ciudad Juarez, (1500 - 1599), Art

  • Jose Cisneros
  • Art
  • Juan de Onate

Your comment will be visible after the El Paso Museum staff has reviewed it. This usually happens within 24 hours.

Thank you for your comment

Juan de Oñate by Jose Cisneros

Report this entry

Choose the most important reason for this report

Your name

Your email address

Optional detail

Thank you for your report

More from the same community-collection

El Paso Texas

Army location map #NH 13-1; colored areas define populated areas, railroads, and international boundaries.

inside of the MUREF

main room where worldwide exhibitions are shown to the public.

Automobile 1908

car from 1908 own by Francisco I. Madero and used in his visit to Ciudad Juarez

Entrance to the MUREF

museum located in Ciudad Juarez chihuahua, dedicated to the Mexican Revolution. downtown area near the santa fe bridge.

President William H. Taft - El Paso, Texas

The back of the photograph reads, El Paso, Taft-Diaz meeting. William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United...

Taft/Diaz Meeting - Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

The Custom House in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico decorated for the historic meeting of President Howard Taft of the United States...

Taft/Diaz Meeting - Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

The back of the photograph reads, El Paso, Taft-Diaz meeting. William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United...

Calle del Commercio - Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

"Calle del Commercio," The main business street in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico transformed from it's daily appearance by all the decorations...

Francisco "Pancho" Villa

Portrait of Francisco "Pancho" Villa dressed in military attire, circa 1914.

Photo Collage of Francisco "Pancho" Villa

This photo is a collage of 12 independent Aultman photos 1 and 7 show Villa. Photos 2 and 4 are...

Alvaro Obregon

Portrait of Alvaro Obregon. Obregon was one of several prominent and influential figures involved in the Mexican Revolution. He rose...

The Dead of The Mexican Revolution

A.) This photo shows a deceased Zapatista. The caption reads, (in English) "Quirino Compian, Zapatista Executed by Federals 2-13-12.

The Dead of The Mexican Revolution

The following five photos are deceased revolutionaries. Individuals shot one of the two individuals in the third photo.

Francisco "Pancho" Villa - El Paso, Texas

Portrait of famed Mexican Revolution leader Francisco "Pancho" Villa.

Mexican Revolution Federals (Rurales) - Juarez, Mexico

Group of Mexican Federals standing around a group of deceased rurales (revolutionaries). It appears that they are in a cemetery...