El Paso del Norte: Imp. C. Hertzog / Empresa de Toros of Cuenca, [circa 1950].
Unbound. Silk broadside. Illustration by Tom Lea. Measuring approximately 5” x 18”, subtly tipped-on to matte board at the four corners. Framed and glazed to approximately 8½” x 21½”. Unexamined out of frame, but aside from a faint horizontal crease and almost imperceptible darkening where it is tipped-on to the board, fine. The frame is modestly worn. On the verso, someone has written on the paper backing in a large hand: “Tom Lea Illustrator for Dobies Longhorns / The Beautiful Country / Brave Bulls.” Lea Illustrated J. Frank Dobie’s book *Longhorns*, and *The Wonderful Country* (here slightly misnamed) is another of Lea’s books.
What appears at first to be a silk broadside for a mid-Century bullfight on the Texas border, is actually a clever piece of advertising for Tom Lea’s classic 1949 novel *The Brave Bulls* (or perhaps an advertisement or prop for the 1951 film?). Illustrated by Lea, the cartel (fight card) sets the scene for the novel’s climactic corrida. This includes the headliner, Luis Bello (“The Swordsman of Guerreras”), his little brother Pepe, and members of their crew: “Monkey,” “Jackdaw,” and “Little White.” The ranch supplying the bull (“Las Astas”) is based on the La Punta ranch in eastern Jalisco. It is a detailed cartel; we assume the rest of the names align with the novel’s characters.
A clever and nicely designed piece of ephemera, or perhaps a movie advertisement or prop. We were only able to locate a single advertising broadside (a bit shorter, printed in black, red, and green, likely on paper) at Southwestern University in Texas.