Julian Onderdonk’s 1917 oil painting Bluebonnets at Sunrise headlines the sublime, often stellar lineup of Texas & Western Art in Heritage Auction Galleries’ Signature® Auction, May 15, at the company’s Downtown Dallas Design District Annex, locate at 1518 Slocum Street. The painting, the first major Onderdonk “Bluebonnet” painting to be offered at public auction since the major retrospective of his work at the Dallas Museum of Art in 2008. It is estimated at $80,000-$120,000.
“Bluebonnets at Sunrise has the quality of light and atmosphere found in Onderdonk’s most beautiful depictions of bluebonnets,” said Atlee Phillips, Director of Texas Art at Heritage. “You have these beautiful Texas wildflowers blanketed in mist as dawn begins to glow on the horizon, making it quite an arresting and important piece of work, on par with his very best paintings.”
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Bluebonnets at Sunrise – especially to scholars and serious collectors – is the inscription on the back, which reveals valuable insight into his methods and business practices. In addition to the signature, date, and title, Onderdonk wrote instructions to return the painting, still wet at the time of purchase, so that he could varnish it himself later in the year.
“This picture should be varnished in October or Nov 1917,” wrote Onderdonk. “Notify me and I will attend to it.”
“Bluebonnets at Sunrise represents the best of both early Texas art and American Impressionism,” said Phillips. “The most desirable and beloved subject that Onderdonk painted was bluebonnets, which was demonstrated by the tremendous response to the 2008 DMA exhibition.”
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com