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    Julian Onderdonk (American, 1882-1922)
    Bluebonnet Field, 1921
    Pastel on board
    5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches (14.0 x 21.6 cm)
    Signed lower right: Julian Onderdonk
    Signed, dated, titled, and indistinctly inscribed verso: Bluebonnet Field [...] / Julian Onderdonk / 1921 -

    Private collection, Dallas.

    In 1909, after studying art in New York for eight years, Julian Onderdonk returned to his native Texas. For the remainder of his career, before his tragic death in 1922, Onderdonk would paint the Texas landscape with a skill and sensitivity few, if any, artists have equaled. The artist's father and fellow painter, Robert J. Onderdonk, helped found the Art Student League of New York and studied under William Merritt Chase during his last year there. Robert eventually settled in San Antonio and started a family. When the younger Onderdonk was sixteen years old, Robert officially became his first art teacher. The quality of Julian Onderdonk's work is largely rooted in the formal training he received while attending the Art Student League of New York. It was there that he followed in his father's footsteps and began taking classes from Chase, and even attended Chase's summer art school at Shinnecock, New York. These formative influences helped Onderdonk refine his work and further develop his own brand of American Impressionism, inspired by the beauty and grandeur of Texas.

    Although Onderdonk is often categorized as a "Texas artist," this definition is far too narrow. Like other Impressionists, Onderdonk was fascinated by the atmospheric conditions found during different seasons, weather conditions, and times of day. He was particularly fond of early morning in the Texas Hill Country. In such paintings, he combines Impressionism and Tonalism with his own special brand of Realism in order to immortalize the land he loved so much by invoking a strong emotional response from the viewer. His sister and fellow artist, Eleanor once wrote, "It is impossible to look at any of Julian's paintings and not see the man who looked at nature with wide-open eyes, analyzed, studied and then created."

    The artist's own passion for the land of Texas cannot be doubted. He once wrote: "San Antonio offers an inexhaustible field for the artist. Nowhere else are the atmospheric effects more varied and more beautiful. One never tires of watching them. Nowhere else is there such a wealth of color. In the spring, when the wild flowers are in bloom, it is riotous: every tint, every hue, every shade is present in the most lavish profusion, and even in the dead of summer, when one would imagine that any canvas could only convey the impression of intense heat, the possibilities of the landscape are still beyond comprehension. One has only to see it properly to find that everything glows with a wonderful golden tint which is the delight and the despair of all who have ever tried to paint it."

    After his death, Onderdonk's bluebonnet paintings inspired the Texas Wildflower exhibitions in San Antonio from 1927 to 1929. This ultimately gave rise to the ubiquitous "Bluebonnet School," which is still prevalent and widely collected in Texas today.

    This work will be included in Harry A. Halff's addendum to Julian Onderdonk: A Catalogue Raisonné.

    More information about Julian Onderdonk, also known as Onderdonk, Julian, Julian Onderdonk.

    Condition Report*: Pastel is unaffixed; pigment loss to the extreme edges of the board; a few small nicks of loss to the board in the corners; slight smudging to the center of the work.
    Framed Dimensions 11.5 X 15 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    3rd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,264

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