Julian Onderdonk (1882-1922) Field of bluebonnets at sunset, 1919-1920 30 x 40in
Lot 199
Julian Onderdonk (1882-1922) Field of bluebonnets at sunset 30 x 40in
Sold for US$ 326,500 inc. premium
Lot Details
Julian Onderdonk (1882-1922)
Field of bluebonnets at sunset
signed 'Julian Onderdonk' (lower right) and inscribed 'Field of Bluebonnets / at Sunset / Julian Onderdonk / San Antonio, Texas / 1919-1920' (on an old handwritten label on the reverse)
oil on canvas
30 x 40in


    Private collection, Texas, 1920s
    Thence by descent to the present owner

    Julian Onderdonk benefited from the teachings of a number of significant American artists while he studied in New York. They included Kenyon Cox, Robert Henri, and Frank DuMond. The artist with the most lasting influence on Onderdonk was William Merritt Chase. Onderdonk attended Chase's summer school at Shinnecock on Long Island and the New York School of Art. Interestingly Robert Jenkins Onderdonk, the artist's father, also took instruction from Chase.

    The full flowering of Onderdonk's talents as a painter followed his embrace of the Texas landscape. Onderdonk himself said: "San Antonio offers an inexhaustible field for the artist. Nowhere else are the atmospheric effects more varied or more beautiful. One never tires of watching them. Nowhere else is there such a wealth of color. In the spring, when the wildflowers are in bloom, it is riotous: every tint, every hue, every shade is present in the most lavish profusion."

    Although Onderdonk came to resent being known as the 'Bluebonnet Painter' it was a subject he continually revisited and refined. The blankets of blooming bluebonnets in the Southern Texas landscape were and continue to be the muse of photographers and amateur painters throughout the west. Onderdonk's paintings played no small part in the popularizing of the subject as countless reproductions of his works were sold to tourists and some have argued that his works opened the minds of his fellow Texans to the beauty around them.

    Field of Bluebonnets at Sunset is a glimpse of the classic blue saturated Texas landscape. Onderdonk makes use of lavish texture with contrasting patterns throughout the painting. The greens in the foreground are predominantly horizontal strokes while the blues are mostly vertical dabs. The mid-ground and the sky are predominantly composed of longer horizontal textures with staccato brushwork in the clouds and the trees. Texture, however, is the appetizer to Onderdonk's use of color. The bluebonnets in various tints and hues of blue pop against bright green grass with scattered specks of maroon and pink wincups center right and some thin vertical dots of white in the ladies-tresses center left. All this takes place under a dramatic pink, salmon, yellow and opalescent green and blue sky.
  1. Erin Cabral
    Auction Administration - California and Western Paintings
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, 94103
    United States
    Work +1 415 503 3345
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