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Luis Jiménez Portrait

Luis Jiménez

Also Known as: Luis Alfonso Jiménez Jr., Luis A. Jiménez, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., Luis Alfonso Jiménez, Luis Jimenez

El Paso, Texas 1940

Hondo, New Mexico 2006

Photo Caption:
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Luce Artist Quote

"Art should in some way make a person more aware, give him insight 'to where he's at' and in some way reflect what it is like to be living in these times and in this place." Luis Jiménez, The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920-1970, 1988


Born in Texas, lives in New Mexico. Sculptor, teacher whose large fiberglass figures capture the color and vigor of Hispanic-American women and men.

Charles Sullivan, ed American Beauties: Women in Art and Literature (New York: Henry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with National Museum of American Art, 1993)

Additional Biographies

Luis Jiménez studied architecture and art at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving his B.F.A. degree in 1964. Following a brief stay in Mexico and six years in New York, he returned to the Southwest in the early 1970s. He now divides his time between El Paso, Texas, and Hondo, New Mexico.

Although Jiménez is primarily a sculptor, he is also accomplished at color lithographs and colored-pencil drawings. He executes preparatory drawings to work out the conceptual and and formal configurations of his sculptures, which are made of fiberglass cast in a mold, then painted and coated with epoxy. His New York sulptures, such as Man on Fire, [SAAM, 1979.124] involve themes of political and social satire, while those made after his return to the Southwest focus on that region's Mexican and Anglo-American communities.

Man on Fire, a larger than life-size sculpture, was inspired by Jose Clemente Orozco's 1938–39 dome painting in the Cabanas Orphanage in Guadalajara, Mexico. The work, which evokes the story of Cuauhtemoc, the legendary Aztec warrior who was tortured to death with fire by the Spaniards soon after the Conquest of Mexico in 1521, also reflects Luis Jiménez's keen awareness of Vietnamese monks who practiced self-immolation as a protest against the war in the 1960s.

Jiménez combines size, color, and pose to create a dramatic and heroic effect in this impressive work. The flaming figure strikes a triumphant stance with legs spread apart. The flames swirl up from a container placed between the figure's legs, moving up the right side of the torso across the back, around the head, and finally over the entire surface of the extended left arm.

Hispanic-American Art (brochure, Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art)