DescriptionJULIAN ONDERDONK (American, 1882-1922)
Field of Bluebonnets with Trees
Oil on canvas laid on board
10 x 14 inches (25.4 x 35.6 cm)
Signed lower right: Julian Onderdonk
Private collection, San Antonio.
Onderdonk's hit his stride with his bluebonnet paintings by about 1915. This painting is among Onderdonk's finest bluebonnet paintings-albeit of a modest size-and is strongly reminiscent of his A Field of Bluebonnets-Late Afternoon Sunlight (1919-20) in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum collection. In fact, both paintings appear to have been painted at the same site. "There are bluebonnet paintings, and then there are bluebonnet paintings. Certain Julian Onderdonk paintings transcend the pejorative designations; this is one of those works." -- Michael Grauer, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs/Curator of Art at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum.
Julian Onderdonk was a native of San Antonio and the son of the artist Robert Jenkins Onderdonk. In 1901, at the age of nineteen, he moved to New York City and attended several art schools. He then studied plein-air painting with William Merritt Chase at his summer school in Shinecock, New York. After returning home to Texas in 1909, Onderdonk enjoyed considerable success during his lifetime. He became best known for his paintings of bluebonnets, but he also loved to depict the Texas Hill Country in all its incarnations. Unfortunately, he suffered an early death at the age of forty. In 2008, the Dallas Museum of Art held an exhibition entitled "Bluebonnets and Beyond: Julian Onderdonk, American Impressionist," which has further established his work as the most admired and sought-after of the early Texas artists.
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