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Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy

Refugio "Cuco" Salas, Remudero, by Bill Wittliff, © 1971

APRIL 19 – JULY 7, 2013
VAQUERO: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy

—photographs by BILL WITTLIFF

Our Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy exhibition returns in celebration of the new bronze Vaquero statue by Clete Shields, donated to Texas State by Bill and Sally Wittliff.

When Texas moved into the cattle business, its cowboy adopted many of the Mexican vaquero’s accoutrements and centuries-old methodologies of working herds in big country. In the early 1970s Bill Wittliff was invited to witness one of the last traditional roundups on the vast Rancho Tule in northern Mexico, and he fixed the vanishing vaquero tradition forever in nearly 5,000 photographs taken over a period of three years. Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is touring more than 60 of Bill Wittliff’s images that have been recreated as rich carbon-ink prints and arranged in sections accompanied by bilingual narrative texts. This exhibition is made possible in part by a “We The People” grant from the NEH.

[above] Refugio "Cuco" Salas, Remudero,by Bill Wittliff, © 1971