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Julian Onderdonk and the Texan Landscape
May 12, 2017 @ 10:00 am - August 31, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
This newest exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and is accompanied by a catalogue raisonné by Harry Halff and Elizabeth Halff. The Art Museum of South Texas is the third and final venue to host this visually stunning exhibition of the rich qualities of nature particular to Texas. Julian Onderdonk (1882-1922), a San Antonio native and American Impressionist, was known for his sweeping depictions of bluebonnets in the Texas landscape. He is often referred to as “the Texas Old Master.” Julian Onderdonk was the son of Robert Onderdonk (1852-1917), who was one of the first students in the Arts Students League of New York, and alsostudied under William Merritt Chase at the National Academy. It has been reported that the young Julian always knew he was going to be an artist and began his artistic life at a young age by drawing on the butcher paper in which the meat for the family meal was wrapped. While he attended the West Texas Military Academy, his father critiqued his work via letters.After his graduation in 1898, Julian’s technique had greatly improved. In1901 he departed for New York to further his artistic study. When he enrolled in the Arts Students League, he eagerly anticipated learning to paint, but was frustrated with the preliminary coursework focused on casting the human figure. During this time, he encountered paintings by William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) at the National Academy of Design. Julian was impressed with Chase’s “bold color and vigorous brushwork,” and like his father had been years earlier, became Chase’s student. Onderdonk wrote to his parents, “I am very glad that you want me to go to the summer school for I was crazy to go for I feel I could do better there than in a blamed oldcast room….I long to get out in the open air with my palette in one hand and my brush in the other and be able to smear paint over the whole landscape.”Jul…