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Robert G. Carter’s Old Sergeant’s Story


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115.     CISNEROS, José. Untitled original finished pen and ink drawing on heavyweight Crescent art board, signed in ink at lower right: “J. Cisneros.” In another hand on verso: “from ‘The Old Sergeant’s Story.’” 48.3 x 38.2 cm. Dodging two arrows, a mounted, mustachioed U.S. Cavalry officer in full uniform with the shoulder straps of a captain, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and armed with rifle at left and sword at right, stares straight ahead, steely-eyed as he reigns in his slightly rearing, agitated horse branded U.S. on front left shoulder. Very fine. With this drawing is a copy of the book in which the drawing was published:

CARTER, Robert G. The Old Sergeant’s Story: Fighting Indians and Bad Men in Texas from 1870 to 1876. Bryan: J.M. Carroll, [1982]. [2, full-page illustration by José Cisneros], [18], [5-10] 11-220, [8, index] pp., 4 leaves of plates (photographic). 4to (29.6 x 22.5 cm), original brown buckram. Very fine in d.j. with illustration by Cisneros. Jacket moderately rubbed and spine light. Second edition, with new introduction by Byron Price, added index and foreword by John M. Carroll, and a useful bibliographical checklist of Carter’s works. The first edition was published in 1926. Adams, Guns 383. Howes C194. Rader 610. Tate, The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography 3001. Wallace, Arizona History X:7. Dykes remarked in the introduction to On the Border with Mackenzie, Carter’s other book on the Indian War: “Scholars were quick to recognize that On the Border with MacKenzie contains the most complete account of the Indian wars of the Texas frontier in the Seventies available to date. When paired with The Old Sergeant’s Story the picture is just about all there—few can add to it.” The subject of Carter’s, The Old Sergeant’s Story is John B. Charlton (1848-1922; Handbook of Texas Online). The book is an historical account of Sergeant Charlton’s “F” Troop and the 4th Cavalry Indian Wars (including the campaigns in West Texas).

Cisneros’ artwork, used as the d.j. and the front illustration for this edition, recreates history in his usual meticulous technique, accurately capturing every detail of the soldier and his uniform, equipage, weaponry, and, of course, the horse, of which Cisneros is the modern master. Cisneros’ passion for historical accuracy of physical details is complemented by his rendering of movement and reaction of both horse and man.

     With the recent sale of Cisneros’ voluminous personal collection (approximately 2,500 art works), the institutionalization of José’s other work in prior years to the University of El Paso, et al., and the sad reality that José is no longer able to create choice works such as this one due to failing eyesight, obtaining his original works of art will prove a challenge henceforth.


Sold. Hammer: $1,100.00; Price Realized: $1,320.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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