Heritage, 2011, Volume 1 Page: 11
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ing legacy as a landscape artist, portrait
painter, and teacher. On the strength of
his appealing images, Texas art moved to
a new level. A similar long-term impact
was made by Spaniard Jose Arpa, who
became a fixture atop the hierarchy of
San Antonio artists as he shuttled in and
out of the city between 1899 and 1932
(see image page 8-9).
Commercial artists found outlets for
their talents in Texas as the state's ex-
panding rail system opened up the re-
gion to the outside world. Professional
illustrators working for a variety of pub-
lications were frequent visitors. Their
detailed drawings of public buildings,
businesses, churches, schools, and city
scenes circulated widely in publications
such as Harper's Weekly and Frank Leslie's
Illustrated Newspaper, providing visual
proof of the state's transformation. Trav-
eling portrait painters known as limners
scoured Texas towns both big and small
in search of commissions. Wealthy Tex-
ans enlisted traveling decorative artists
to create elaborately painted scenery in their
homes. Photographers in every corner of the
state presented themselves as artists, and their
studios as art parlors and art galleries, thus
filling voids in the state's creative matrix.
As the 19th century drew to a close,
the center of the Texas art world re-
volved around San Antonio, but many
other artists were active elsewhere in the
state. Their presence was amply demon-
strated at places like the Texas State Fair
in Dallas, where members of the Dallas
Art Students League exhibited annually.
In 1896, Emma Richardson Cherry of
Houston organized an extensive art exhi-
bition for the annual Texas Coast Fair in
Dickinson. In addition to her own paint-
ings, Cherry exhibited almost 200 pieces
of art by some 50 Texas artists of her ac-
quaintance. Many exhibitors were from
the Houston/Galveston area, but others
were drawn from Austin, Dallas, and as
far north as Sherman.
The Texas Coast Fair exhibition in-
cluded one work, Galveston Beach, by a
little-known immigrant artist named
Julius Stockfleth (see photo on page 44,
left). Between his arrival in 1885 and the
lethal hurricane that struck Galveston in
Robert Jenkins Onderdonk (1852-1917) arrived in San Antonio in
1879. A trained artist, he was a popular teacher and an exceptional
painter of picturesque San Antonio scenery (see page 37). From
1889 to 1895 he also worked as a portraitist and art educator in Dallas.
Robert Onderdonk's best known work, The Fall of the Alamo, was com-
missioned in 1901 and installed in the Texas Governor's Mansion.
Robert Onderdonk's eldest son Julian (born 1882) trained in New
York with William Merritt Chase and proved highly receptive to his
teacher's outdoor painting methods. Julian Onderdonk returned to
San Antonio in 1909 and began his career as a Texas outdoor paint-
er. His ability to depict light effects and colorful plant life blanket-
ing the open countryside around San Antonio caused demand for
his paintings to skyrocket. Though he died tragically at age 40, he is
remembered as the "Father of Texas Impressionism."
Eleanor Onderdonk (1884-1964), with her father's blessing, was
trained as a miniaturist at the Art Students League in New York.
Her greatest contributions to San Antonio culture came as art cu-
rator of the Witte Museum, where she organized many exhibitions
and actively assembled the institution's core collection of early
Texas art.-Scott Grant Barker
Bertha Landers, Market
SDay, circa 1945. Etching.
AL , "Judy and Stephen Alton
Volume 1 2011 I TEXASHERITAGE 11
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 1, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254220/m1/11/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.