Mid-20th Century Porfirio Salinas Bluebonnets Oil Painting

Value (2012) | $10,000 Auction$18,000 Auction

This painting was purchased by my great-grandmother, we think about the 1940s-- we're not really sure. But she didn't know a thing about art to the best of our knowledge, but she just loved the bluebonnets, and that's what she went to San Antonio to do was to buy a painting that had bluebonnets in it.

Well, the bluebonnet painters are emblematic of Texas. The pictures are very numerous partly because in the 1920s, there was a Texas wildflower art competition for three years. Artists were encouraged to paint pictures of wildflowers in Texas, and of course most of them chose bluebonnets, so there are many artists who are known for doing bluebonnet pictures. Now, tell me about the artist of your picture.

I hope I pronounce this correctly. I think it's Porfirio Salinas. I don't know a whole lot about him, but I just know that when President Lyndon Johnson went to the White House, he took the Salinas paintings that he loved with him. I don't even know if that's true or not.

It's absolutely true. Salinas is especially interesting to me because he was Mexican-American.


And he is one of the few artists, or certainly one of the first artists, of Mexican-American heritage to become well-known in this field. His parents were poor farmers, and his accomplishments are really pretty remarkable given that he became interested in art as a young man and on his own, rather self-taught, became this successful.

And he didn't have any formal training?

He had no formal training at all. But it certainly didn't hold him back.


He was extremely prolific. He painted in the thousands of pictures. He did paint things other than bluebonnets, but they're certainly what he is the best known for. He was born in 1910 and he died in 1973. It's not easy to date the picture specifically because he did work in a relatively consistent style for much of his career. I think he realized how popular his pictures were, and he didn't see too much reason to change what he was doing. Now, do you have any idea what the picture's worth?

I don't have any idea. We've never ever taken it for any kind of evaluation.

Well, I would say an appropriate auction estimate for your picture would probably be between $10,000 and $15,000.


And I suspect it would retail for a bit more than that, so I'd suggest if you were thinking about insuring it, you would probably want to think about a figure of perhaps $18,000.

Wow. Ah! That is so exciting.

Appraisal Details

Kathleen Harwood Fine Art
South Hadley, MA
Appraised value (2012)
$10,000 Auction$18,000 Auction
Corpus Christi, TX (August 04, 2012)

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