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    Description

    JULIAN ONDERDONK (American, 1882-1922)
    Blue Bonnet Field, Early Morning, San Antonio Texas, 1914
    Oil on canvas
    30-1/2 x 40 inches (77.5 x 101.6 cm)
    Signed lower right: Julian Onderdonk
    Titled, inscribed, signed, and dated verso: Blue Bonnet Field / Early Morning / San Antonio, Texas- / - Julian Onderdonk - 1914 -

    In 1909, after studying art in New York for eight years, Julian Onderdonk returned to Texas. During the
    following thirteen years, before his tragic death in 1922, Julian would paint the Texas landscape with a
    skill and sensitivity few, if any, artists have equaled. The particularly high quality of his paintings during
    this period is partly due to the formal training he received while attending the Art Student League of New
    York. It was there that he began taking classes from William Merritt Chase and later attended Chase's
    summer art school at Shinnecock, New York. Chase's formal influence helped Julian refine his work and
    further develop his own brand of American Impressionism, largely inspired by the beauty and grandeur
    of the Texas landscape.

    Chase is considered by many to be the most important American art teacher of his generation; some of
    his most famous students include Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, and Edward Hopper, to name a
    few. Chase began influencing Julian's work long before the two met. Julian's father and artist, Robert J.
    Onderdonk, helped found the Art Student League of New York and studied art with Chase during his last
    year there. Robert eventually settled in San Antonio, Texas and started a family. When Julian was sixteen
    years old Robert officially became his first art teacher, passing many of the lessons he learned from Chase
    on to his son long before Julian ever left Texas.

    Julian often embraced other styles popular during this period, especially Realism and Tonalism. Elements
    of Realism are evident in most of his landscapes, a product of his lifelong obsession with the natural
    world of Texas. 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." Additionally, many of Julian's paintings show the influence of the earlier Barbizon
    movement in France and the United States, exemplified by the later paintings of George Inness and the
    contemporaneous movement dubbed "Tonalism." While the foundation of his style is firmly rooted in
    Impressionism, at least some Tonalist elements can be found in a great deal of Julian's paintings. Indeed,
    some resemble the landscapes of Inness more than those of Chase.

    Like the Impressionists, Julian was fascinated with the different times of day, particularly dusk and dawn, and 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 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."

    Blue Bonnet Field, Early Morning, San Antonio, Texas, 1914, proves beyond doubt Julian had no reason
    to despair. Much like Claude Monet's haystacks, Julian returns to the same subject at different times. Although
    both works are set in the early morning, they are still very different pictures. Blue Bonnet Field was painted on
    day when there was more moisture in the air so it has the quality of light and atmosphere found in Julian's most
    haunting depictions of bluebonnets blanketed in mist. This gives the work a dreamy quality, as if the viewer
    could step into the painting and be enveloped, transporting them into another world. This hazy effect is found
    only in Julian's most exquisite bluebonnet paintings and, despite many attempts, no other artist has been able
    to replicate it.

    Julian's Impressionist landscapes of bluebonnets inspired exhibitions of paintings of Texas wildflowers in San
    Antonio from 1927 to 1929, and ultimately gave rise to the ubiquitous "Bluebonnet School," prevalent in Texas
    even today. Julian Onderdonk is often categorized as a Texas artist because of the popularity of his breathtaking
    paintings of the Texas Hill Country, especially those that include bluebonnets, but these five paintings show
    that definition is far too narrow. As the demand for his work grows, both inside and outside of Texas, they are
    increasingly being recognized as important examples of American Impressionism which transcend any regional
    classification.




    Condition Report*: Wax lining has been recently removed and replaced with a strip lining. Canvas has been restretched onto a newer stretcher. Very light craquelure evident in sky and on the hillside to the right. Pigments in some areas may have been slightly flattened by previous wax lining. There appear to be minimal spots of inpaint along extreme left edge, likely to address frame abrasion.  Framed Dimensions 38.5 X 48.25 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. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2013
    16th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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