A Major Acquisition
Iconic American art museum adds portrait by beloved San Antonio artist
An iconic American museum is adding one of San Antonio's own to its prestigious collection. On Tuesday, February 18, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., part of the Smithsonian, announced it had acquired Tomás Ybarra-Frausto in an Aztlán dream by Cruz Ortiz. The news was first reported by the San Antonio Express-News.
The eight-foot oil painting depicts Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, a Chicano activist and former Stanford University professor, posing in front of an agave plant.
Ortiz's piece will join thousands of other famous images at the museum, including the portraits of President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama. On Instagram, the artist said he was "incredibly humbled and honored" to learn his work would be added to the Portrait Gallery's permanent collection.
Interestingly, this isn't the first image of Ybarra-Frausto by a San Antonio artist to be acquired by the museum this year. In January, the gallery added Al Rendon's photograph of Ybarra-Frausto and his partner, Dudley Brooks, to its collection. It is the fourth image of Rendon's to be added to the Smithsonian.
For local art fans, the Portrait Gallery's acquisition of Ortiz's Tomás Ybarra-Frausto in an Aztlán dream seems a fitting end to the artist's time in San Antonio. Earlier this month, news broke that Ortiz and his wife, Olivia Flores Ortiz, another fixture of the local scene, are moving their family to Houston. The pair detailed the decision to return to Ortiz's hometown in an interview with the Express-News, citing family interests and the desire to be in a bigger art market.