Bluebonnets at Twilight North of San Antonio -Texas-

  • Biography

    Julian Onderdonk (1882 - 1922)

    Known as the "Bluebonnet Painter", Robert Julian Onderdonk was a Texan who spent his summer's in New York City and the remainder of the year in San Antonio. He earned his title from the many wildflower paintings he did of the flowering fields near his hometown. He was the son and art student of artist Robert Jenkins Onderdonk and the brother of Eleanor Onderdonk, also a prominent Texas painter, sculptor, and art administrator. In 1901, when he was nineteen, he went to New York and enrolled at the Art Students League and became a student of Kenyon Cox, Robert Henri, and Frank DuMond. He also studied with William Merritt Chase at Chase's summer school at Shinnecock on Long Island and the New York School of Art, and Chase had a continuing influence on his work. Ever in need of money to support his love of painting, Onderdonk took a temporary position in 1906 with the Dallas State Fair Association to put on an art exhibit, and three years later he took a job with them that lasted until until his premature death in 1922 at age forty. Onderdonk married in 1902, and when he returned to Texas in 1909, the New York art critics had become aware of him. Onderdonk would maintain a foothold in the art world there because his employment by the Dallas State Fair Association required him to return on a yearly basis to New York City. Even though the artist had never been a member, the National Academy of Design in New York City took the rather extraordinary step, upon his death, of exhibiting Onderdonk's last painting, "Dawn in the Hills". A fund-raising campaign in San Antonio purchased the painting for the city's art museum. Robert Julian Onderdonk was a member of the Allied Artists of America, Salmagundi Club and San Antonio Art League. His paintings are in the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Fort Worth Art Association, Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, San Antonio Museum Association and Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas