January 20, 2018
San Antonio, TX— December 9, 2017—Julian Onderdonk and the Texan Landscape, opening at the San Antonio Museum of Art on January 20, explores the work of legendary San Antonio painter Julian Onderdonk, from views of the Long Island landscape to sweeping impressions of the Hill Country and the iconic Texas bluebonnet.
Born in San Antonio in 1882, Onderdonk trained first with his father, Robert Jenkins Onderdonk (1851–1917), one of the city's most important early artists. Onderdonk further studied in New York under American Impressionist William Merritt Chase, whose mantra that an artist should work outdoors and paint what he or she saw forever marked Julian's work. After returning to Texas in 1909, Onderdonk found his life's calling. He portrayed the distinctive surroundings of his state at different times of day, in different atmospheric conditions, and at different times of year to the delight of collectors and critics. Just as he reached the peak of his fame, his sudden death, at age 40, in 1922, cut his career short.
"Julian Onderdonk's work still influences the way visitors revere—and artists paint—the Texas landscape," said Dr. William Keyse Rudolph, Andrew W. Mellon Chief Curator and the Marie and Hugh Halff Curator of American Art. "It is exciting to share over two dozen works with the public, many of which are from private collections."
The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It coincides with the publication of Julian Onderdonk: A Catalogue Raisonné by Harry A. Halff and Elizabeth Halff, who spent twenty years tracking down the works.
The exhibition is free with general admission through April 23, 2017, on view in the Museum's Texas Gallery.
About the San Antonio Museum of Art:
The San Antonio Museum of Art serves as a vibrant forum to explore and connect with art that spans the world's geographies, artistic periods, genres, and cultures. Its collection contains nearly 30,000 works representing 5,000 years of history. Housed in the historic Lone Star Brewery on the Museum Reach of San Antonio's Riverwalk, the San Antonio Museum of Art is committed to promoting the rich cultural heritage and life of the city. The Museum hosts hundreds of events and public programs each year, including concerts, performances, tours, lectures, symposia, and interactive experiences. As an active civic leader, the Museum is dedicated to enriching the cultural life of the city and the region, and to supporting its creative community.
Julian Onderdonk, A Road in Late Afternoon, 1921, oil on canvas, h. 20 in. (50.8 cm); w. 30 in. (76.2 cm), William J. Hill Collection. Image courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.