Julian Onderdonk, was best known for his impressionist landscapes and bluebonnet paintings and showed a remarkable talent from his childhood.
He received his early training form his father, Robert Jenkins Onderdonk and at the age of seventeen he moved to New York and studied at the Art Students League, where he studied landscape painting under William Merritt Chase, Du Mond and Robert Henri, winning recognition and always expressing individuality in his work.
The work of Julian Onderdonk is divided into periods. His style changed somewhat in his later years, but regardless of the period in which they were done, all his pictures had "Roots deep in the soil of his native State". The divine spark urged him to express his emotional reactions to nature and fired him with an undying enthusiasm.
Onderdonk married at an early age. Living in New York and sometimes working at his art day and night to support his family.
He returned to San Antonio in 1909 and painted only what he loved and wanted to paint. The bigness of Texas with it's characteristic subjects; Hillsides covered with bluebonnets & dusty roads, which captured the atmospheric conditions of misty mornings in the bluebonnets with the full character of the twisting native oak trees & headwaters of different streams, where he found the colors wonderful in varying lights. These are the subjects Julian Onderdonk loved and longed to put on canvas.
Julain Onderdonk refused to follow his fathers vocation as a teacher, but always gave his time and influence to art interests and activities at the San Antonio Art League.
Julian Onderdonk died October 27, 1922, after a brief illness. At the time of his death, five of his pictures were on the way to New York to be exhibited at the Howard Young Galleries. He also had orders ahead for $20,000 worth of work. (A tremendous amount for 1922).
Mrs. Drought, President of the San Antonio Art League was in New York shortly after his death and saw his picture "Dawn of the Hills" exhibited at The National Academy of Design.
Onderdonk was a member of Allied Artists of America; The Salmagundi Club of New York; San Antonio Art League and Nation Academy of Design.