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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977

Book Reviews

Cecelia Steinfeldt, present curator at the Witte Museum, has done a
superb job gathering illustrations and historical material on the Onder-
donk family. Not only does she show the sophistication of this family that
lived on what must have been considered the "fine arts frontier" in I900;
she shows how they loved Texas and how each enhanced its culture, from
Robert's famous painting of the fall of the Alamo to Julian's fields of
bluebonnets to Eleanor's tenure as taste-maker in one of the state's most
important cultural centers. Steinfeldt also evaluates the techniques of each,
demonstrating their use of photographs in painting, their study of historic
situations, their field work. Finally, she has produced a study basic to our
understanding of the foundation Texas has in the fine arts, an under-
standing that today is flourishing but one that even specialists doubted
a few years ago.
The San Antonio Museum Association is to be commended for direct-
ing its efforts toward a systematic documentation of Texas's cultural herit-
age. This lavishly and beautifully illustrated work coupled with other ex-
hibitions and publications probably will not lead us to doubt Turner's gen-
eralization regarding the artistic presence on the frontier, but it will lead
us to understand what followed soon after the frontier had vanished and
the odds against its success.
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art RON C. TYLER
Iwonski in Texas, Painter and Citizen. By James Patrick McGuire. (San
Antonio: San Antonio Museum Association and the Institute of
Texan Cultures, 1976. Pp. 96. Introduction, illustrations, index.
For thirty-two years the only major book on Texas art was Esse Forres-
ter-O'Brien's Art and Artists of Texas (Tardy Publishing Co., I935). The
nineteenth-century Texas artists were mentioned and catalogued, but lack-
ed substance, either as people or artists. Pauline A. Pinckney in Painting
in Texas: The Nineteenth Century (Amon Carter Museum and Univer-
sity of Texas Press, 1967) fleshed out these early artists and whetted our
appetites for more.
Since 1967 we have received excellent books on the Onderdonk family
and Theodore Gentilz. This latest publication details the interesting and
talented Carl von Iwonski.
James Patrick McGuire's book is a modest publication in comparison
to the others but it is of equal importance. McGuire has researched those
fascinating but tedious early private and public records and with limited


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed October 6, 2015.