Throwback Thursday: History Through Paintings


BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The documentation of Brownsville through photography is well known. But the capturing of the city by paintings is as well-known as the artist. Some of the public may be lucky enough to remember the paintings in the Texas Café.

Antonio Cisneros is the artist is whose paintings graced the iconic Texas Café that was in downtown Brownsville in the market square area. The Texas Café began around 1912 and somewhere in the 1930s, the owners of the café were approached by Antonio Cisneros. About nine paintings ended up on the walls of the café. They were beautiful representations of Brownsville back in its founding days.

In all the years these paintings hung in the Texas Café, imagine all the grease and the ambiance of a café. That “ambiance” worked its way into the paintings and the paintings ended up in terrible condition. An artist named Pablo Noriega came by and restored four paintings and returned them to prime condition.

There are five other paintings by Antonio Cisneros that are in terrible condition. They are stored away in the attic of a Brownsville museum. Unfortunately, Pablo Noriega died before he could get to the other ones or before arrangements could be made for him to restore other ones.

We hope that someday the remaining five pieces will come into circulation and be as beautiful as the previous paintings. They represent the history and the art of Brownsville. Projects such as these; the restoration of art, the buildings, and other artifacts are so important to the area’s history.

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