If you have ever visited the Dallas Museum of Art, you may have walked through several rooms dedicated to the Texan impressionistic artwork of Julian Onderdonk. A native Texan, born in San Antonio in 1882, Mr. Onderdonk grew up as an “enthusiastic sketcher and painter.” Trained at Chase’s Shinnecock School of Art, he moved to New York City where he attempted to make a living as an en plain air (“in the open air”) artist. There he met his wife and had a son. Due to economic hardships associated with being an artist, in 1906 Julian took a salaried position organizing art exhibitions for the Dallas State Fair, a seasonal job he retained for a number of years. In 1909, Julian returned to San Antonio where he produced his best work and has since been known for his popular bluebonnet landscapes.
Like many other Texas artists working in this time period, Julian Onderdonk studied under the American Impressionist painter, William Merritt Chase. Chase advocated painting directly out-of-doors with a fresh, direct, elemental approach to nature. Onderdonk’s method of blending tone and color to suggest mood and atmospheric conditions is similar to other Impressionistic works. His pleasing and straightforward images quickly became popular among Texans and his works were shown in galleries throughout the state.
It is said that George W. Bush decorated the Oval Office with 3 of Onderdonk’s paintings. As the saying goes, you can take the man out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the man!
He died in 1922 at the age of 40. What a huge difference he made in such a short life! Undoubtedly, if you are a Texan you are well familiar with the work of Julian Onderdonk.
Here at Texas Treats we greatly appreciate his illustrious work. He captured the beauty of Texas in such an extraordinary way and anyone who loves Texas as much as we do, is a winner in our hearts!
Our “Whoever said LIFE IS GOOD, Must have been in TEXAS” coasters are a great way to express your love for the lone star state, too!