Obregón, José (1832–1902)

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Obregón, José (1832–1902)

José Obregón (b. 1832; d. 1902), Mexican painter. Obregón received his education at the Academia de San Carlos, where he was a student of Pelegrín Clavé for more than fifteen years. In his youth, his pictorial themes corresponded with his desire to appreciate universal culture through biblical themes. In the 1860s, Obregón was the first painter to use themes involving early national episodes. His The Discovery of Pulque, a painting of undoubted historical significance, took its place in the moralist line of historical paintings. Its novelty lay in that, rather than being derived from a biblical or Greco-Roman episode, its theme sprang from a national event. This work interested other figure painters at the academy in the idea of using Mexican historical themes.

By order of Maximilian, Obregón painted the portrait of General Mariano Matamoros, as well as that of José María Morelos, for the Gallery of Heroes in the National Palace. He was likewise commissioned for the portraits of Maximilian and Carlota, which served as models in Europe for the coining of currency that bore their effigies. He enjoyed much success as a portraitist of Mexican society. He remained as a master at the academy until 1891, when the loss of his eyesight forced him to leave his post.

See alsoArt: The Nineteenth Century; Matamoros y Guridi, Mariano; Maximilian; Morelos y Pavón, José María.


Justino Fernández, El arte del siglo XIX en México, 3d ed. (1983).

Fausto Ramirez, La plástica del siglo de la independencia (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Soler, Jaime, and Esther Acevedo. La fabricación del Estado, 1864–1910. México, D.F.: Museo Nacional de Arte, 2003.

                                        Esther Acevedo