The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977 Page: 446

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

dance of new information and interpretations likely to challenge even
researchers who already have substantial knowledge about Mexican labor
in the United States.
Illinois State University GEORGE C. KISER
The Onderdonks: A Family of Texas Painters. By Cecilia Steinfeldt. (San
Antonio: San Antonio Museum Association and Trinity University
Press, 1976. Pp. 238. Illustrations. $25.)
When Frederick Jackson Turner penned his famous essay on the Ameri-
can frontier and prejudiced the search of many visual historians by noting
that the West was notably "lacking in the artistic," he was working with-
out the sort of documentation presented in Pauline A. Pinckney's Paint-
ing in Texas (1967). Subsequent publications, such as Gentilz: Artist of
the Old Southwest by Dorothy S. Kendall and Carmen Perry and Fort
Davis and the Texas Frontier by W. Stephen Thomas, have added even
more to our knowledge of our artistic heritage.
The San Antonio Museum Association has taken further steps to docu-
ment the visual history of Texas with exhibitions and publications on Texas
pottery, Texas furniture, and, now, Texas's foremost artist family, the
Onderdonks: Robert J., his son Julian, and his daughter Eleanor. Work-
ing during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Onder-
donks proved to be creative cultural forces as well as talented artists. All
three studied in New York but returned to Texas for the bulk of their
productive careers; only Julian, dying at forty, was unable to fulfill the
promise of his earlier years. Robert worked in both San Antonio and
Dallas, where he became the first instructor in the newly formed Art Stu-
dents' League and was intimately involved with the annual art exhibition at
the State Fair. Son Julian was also involved with the State Fair exhibi-
tion as participant and later as organizer, encouraging George Bellows and
other renown artists among his friends to enter the competition. Eleanor,
Robert's daughter, developed her interest in art a bit later than her broth-
er did, but rapidly became an acceptable artist, teacher, and then long-time
curator of art at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, where she continued
to exercise substantial influence in the state's cultural affairs. Her first job,
for example, required her to organize the second Texas Wildflower Com-
petition Exhibition in 1927. Luling oilman Edgar B. Davis provided the
money for the competition and the prizes attracted nationwide inter-
est, particularly after the collapse of the stock market in 1929 and the
end to an apparently never-ending boom in the art market.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977, periodical, 1976/1977; Austin, Texas. ( accessed February 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.