Magazine article Southwest Art

A Sense of Place

Magazine article Southwest Art

A Sense of Place

Article excerpt

The exhibit Crossing State Lines: Texas Art From the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is on view through March 11, 2001, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Following is an excerpt from the exhibit catalog.

The first generations of painters to make Texas their home sought to capture the specific quality of their environment. A modest realism characterized their work in opposition to the example set by such artist-explorers as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, whose monumental canvases embodied the aspirations of America's western expansion.

Julian Onderdonk was among a dynasty of painters that shaped Texas art in the first decades of this century. He received his initial training from his father, Robert Onderdonk, and enrolled at the Art Students League in New York in 1901; that summer he studied under William Merritt Chase at Shinnecock, Long Island. Following his appointment as art advisor to the State Fair of Texas in 1906, Onderdonk began to divide his time between New York and Texas, and in 1909 he returned permanently to San Antonio.

SUNLIGHT AND SHADow [see page 154] is characteristic of his-landscape compositions. As the title indicates, Onderdonk's first concern was to record the quality of light that animates the landscape, rather than any specific locale. While lacking the bluebonnets that came to be the artist's identifying motif in later years, it is one of Onderdonk's most accomplished early southwestern landscapes, and the combination of atmospheric effects and vivid color harmonies links this work to the international style of late 19th-century plein-air painting. ailed in Denton, Alexandre Hogue studied at the Minneapolis College of Design, worked as a commercial artist in New York, traveled with Frank Reaugh to West Texas, and in 1920 began to visit Taos, where he became close friends with Ernest Blumenschein. …

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