Civic Art

Benito Juarez

Benito Juarez

  • Number: 0031
  • Artist: Martinez, Julian
  • Title: Benito Juarez
  • Date: 1985, Dedicated May 5, 1985
  • Type: Sculpture (Portrait Bust)
  • Medium: Sculpture: Bronze, Base: Gray granite
  • Dimensions: Sculpture: 34" x 22" x 19", Base: 53" x 28" x 34"
  • Location/Environment: Hermann Park International Sculpture Garden, Outdoors
  • Provenance: Given to the City of Houston by PEMEX on behalf of the people of Mexico

Historical Background

Subject
The 19th century Mexican statesman Benito (Pablo) Juarez is remembered as a leader of the resistance against foreign invasion and a champion of Mexican liberalism. Born in San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca, on March 21, 1806, Juarez was the son of Zapotec Indian peasants.

He was the was governor of Oaxaca from 1847 to 1852. In 1853 he was exiled to by the government of Santa Anna and fled to New Orleans until Santa Anna was overthrown in 1855. As president from 1858, Juarez lead the liberals over the conservatives in the War of the Reform (1858-60). When the French invaded in 1862 Juarez headed the resistance and carried on the struggle until the French-imposed empire of Maximilian fell in 1867. He was reelected president in 1867 and 1871. His death on July 18, 1872 cut short his second term.

Juarez is a national hero in Mexico because of his decades-long struggle to establish democracy and because of his resistance to the French invaders.

Physical Description
Benito Juarez is a cast bronze portrait bust, mounted on a polished gray granite pedestal.

The sculpture is of a man, with short-hair, wearing a shirt, vest, coat, and cravat and has a mole beneath his right eye. The artist's name and the sculpture's date ( Julian Martinez/ Mex '85 ) appear on the front of the bust's self base.

The front face of the base is inscribed with gold letters that read as follows: BENITO JUAREZ/ 1806-1872/ PRESIDENT OF MEXICO/ “RESPECT FOR THE RIGHT/ OF OTHERS IS PEACE”/ “EL RESPETO AL DERECHO/ AJENO ES LA PAZ”/ DONATED BY PEMEX/ ON BEHALF OF THE MEXICAN PEOPLE TO THE/ CITY OF HOUSTON/ MAY 5, 1985 The right side of the pedestal reads: CO SPONSERS/ COMITE PATRIOTICO MEXICANO/ BTA. SOC. MUT. “BENITO JUAREZ”/ LEAGUE UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS/ CLUB SEMBRADORES DE AMISTAD/ CLUB FAMILIAS UNIDAS/ CLUB CULTURAL MEXICO BELLO/ AMIGOS HISPANOS/ RITO NACIONAL MEXICANO/ ORGANIZA IONES MUTUALISTAS

Restoration/Conservation
Benito Juarez was restored in July 1997.