Victoria Art League to Host Viewing of Patricia de la Garza Portrait
No one knew what Patricia de la Garza, wife of Martín de León and co-founder of Victoria, looked like—until now.
The public is invited to a come-and-go viewing of a portrait of Patricia de la Garza by forensic artist Lois Gibson 6-8 p.m. April 26 at the Victoria Art League building, 905 S. Bridge St.
Doña Patricia de la Garza (1777-1849), along with her husband, Don Martín de León (1771-1834), founded Victoria in 1824. Using her $10,000 dowry, the couple developed a colony rich in ranching and agriculture, according to information provided by descendant Blanche de León. Patricia was responsible for developing the cultural aspects of the colony; establishment and support of the first church, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, which became St. Mary’s; and the building of the first school to educate the colony’s children. Upon her death in 1849, her home was donated to the Church and is the current site of St. Mary's Catholic Church and Nazareth Academy Convent.
The portrait was commissioned by Blanche de León, Dana Garza and Anna Harrison, sisters who are descendants of Martín de León and Patricia de la Garza.
The sisters, along with de León descendant John Foester and other descendants, have been assisting sculptor Armando Hinojosa with the design of a new statue of Victoria’s founding couple. The statue was commissioned by the City of Victoria and will be unveiled at DeLeon Plaza as part of the City’s bicentennial celebration in 2024.
The de León descendants’ assistance has included commissioning and modeling historically accurate clothing for the artist as well as providing guidance and input based on images of the founding couple’s descendants and contributing to the overall design of the sculpture.
However, while a portrait of Martín de León was created for Victoria’s 150th anniversary—based on a photograph of his grandson, who is said to have resembled him—no historically accurate image of Patricia de la Garza had ever been created.
“We had a pretty good idea of what Martín de León looked like, but we were kind of clueless when it came to Patricia de la Garza,” Blanche de León said at a recent City Council meeting.
To solve this problem, they reached out to forensic artist Lois Gibson, who created a portrait of Patricia de la Garza based on more than 50 photos of her descendants.
“It is just stunning,” said Blanche de León, who is one of the few people to have seen the portrait so far.
The City of Victoria is making plans to display historical artifacts and memorabilia during the bicentennial celebration, and the portrait will be included in these exhibitions of Victoria’s heritage.
To learn about historical sites, museums and other attractions in Victoria, visit www.explorevictoriatexas.com.