Discovering Texas: The Works of Robert Jenkins Onderdonk
Christopher Saenz (curatorial intern), William Rudolph
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Dallas Museum of Art
Discovering Texas: The Works of Robert Jenkins Onderdonk provides an intimate look at nearly three dozen paintings, watercolors, and drawings spanning the career of one of early Texas's most important artists. This tightly focused installation is presented in the Dallas Museum of Art's American Galleries on Level 4 as a complement to Bluebonnets and Beyond: Julian Onderdonk, American Impressionist, a major retrospective of the career of the artist's son, on view in the Museum's J. E. R. Chilton and Focus I galleries from March 23 to July 20, 2008, and traveling statewide into 2009. Born in Maryland, Robert Jenkins Onderdonk (1852-1917) was one of the first students of famed instructor William Merritt Chase at the newly formed Art Students League in New York. Intending to earn sufficient money to underwrite further European training, Robert moved to San Antonio, Texas, in September of 1879. Over the next thirty-eight years, Robert Jenkins Onderdonk painted the distinctive Texas local culture of markets, architecture, landscape, and personalities, both in San Antonio and Dallas, while acting himself as an influential teacher. Drawn from the Museum's own permanent holdings, as well as from private collections in Dallas, the exhibition presents a vivid range of the artist's landscapes and still lifes and his most celebrated portrait, including the preliminary oil sketch for Robert's most celebrated painting, "The Fall of the Alamo," installed today in the Governor's Mansion in Austin. Viewers will also encounter delicately rendered drawings from the artist and his wife's own sketchbooks, executed during his tenure at the National Academy of Design in New York and his early time around San Antonio. Given to the Museum in the early 1960s, these works have never before been shown to the public.Discovering Texas: The Works of Robert Jenkins Onderdonk is organized by Christopher Saenz, the McDermott Curatorial Intern for American and Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.