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    JULIAN ONDERDONK (American, 1882-1922)
    On the Old Blanco Road, Southwest Texas, 1911
    Oil on canvas
    30 x 25 inches (76.2 x 63.5 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left: Julian Onderdonk - 1911 -
    Titled, signed, and dated verso: Noon on the Blanco Road - / Southwest Texas. / - Julian Onderdonk 1911 -

    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.

    On the Old Blanco Road, Southwest, Texas, 1911 represents Julian in full Impressionist mode,
    depicting the rich colors of the Texas Hill Country in late afternoon. By choosing this time of day, Julian
    could work with a more vivid palette and include striking shadows like the one that dominates the
    foreground of the painting, creating a sense of drama inherent to the Texas landscape. It is painted in
    an impressionistic style, using thick applications of paint and visible brushwork. Julian uses the varying
    brushstrokes to build up surface texture in order to illustrate his interpretation of the landscape, not to
    recreate a perfect rendering of the view. The human figures are vivid and eye catching, yet on closer
    inspection, they are still little more than thick daubs of paint with almost no detail. This ability to convey
    the essence of a landscape or figure through the expressive handling of the paint is a hallmark of a great
    Impressionist painter. When immersed in Old Blanco Road, one can taste the dust of the road and feel
    the heat of the scorching sun.

    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*: Canvas is not lined and is slightly loose on stretcher. Upper stretcher crease slightly visible. Two minor spots of inpaint in tree areas. Possible light linear scratach with minor paint loss above artist's signature. Very light surface dirt in the lower left quadrant.  Framed Dimensions 32.5 X 37.5 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: 1
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