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"Julian Onderdonk in New York: The Lost Years, the Lost Paintings" opens at the Witte Museum
Chas Turner, Harbor Scene, New York, 1906. Oil on canvas. Private Collection.
SAN ANTONIO, TX.- Julian Onderdonk in New York: The Lost Years, the Lost Paintings is an exhibition based on a book of the same name by James Graham Baker published by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). Dr. Ron Tyler is the curator of the exhibition. The exhibit opens Saturday, March 8, 2014, and will run until September 9, 2014, in the Russell Hill Rogers Texas Art Gallery at the Witte Museum. Admission to the exhibition is included with museum admission.

San Antonio native Julian Onderdonk may be the most well-known artist Texas has ever produced, but Onderdonk spent many years outside the state seeking to make a name for himself in New York City. In the book Julian Onderdonk: The Lost Years, the Lost Paintings, James Graham Baker explores these years, which are often neglected by scholars. These ‘Lost Paintings’ largely are composed of landscapes and marine scenes depicting the vanishing rural areas and shorelines around New York City; these paintings consist of over one third of his work.

It has long been known that Julian Onderdonk signed pseudonyms to a number of his paintings while he was in New York from 1901 to 1909. Former Witte Museum Curator Cecilia Steinfeldt mentions several of those assumed names in her book on the Onderdonk family published in 1976. What has not been known is how many works, of what type, for how long, and with what other names Julian signed. More than a decade of scholarly research by James Graham Baker and his wife Kimel Baker have begun to answer those questions. Julian signed pseudonyms to perhaps hundreds of paintings, among them some of the finest works he produced while in New York. He signed the assumed names from as early as 1902, with most beginning in 1904, and continuing until he left New York and returned to Texas in 1909.

The exhibition opening coincides with the Texas State Historical Association 118th Annual meeting being held in San Antonio March 6-9, 2014. The annual conference consists of over 40 sessions and 140 speakers who will be highlighting the wide range of Texas history topics from the Spanish colonial period through the Revolution, Republic, Civil War, and the twentieth century.

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