PIECES BY JULIAN ONDERDONK AND DAVID BATES AMONG STAR-STUDDED LINEUP
Rare works by two of the most popular and important Texas artists each could bring $50,000 or more in Heritage Auctions’ Texas Art event Oct. 23.
“The popularity of Julian Onderdonk and David Bates is as high as ever,” Heritage Auctions Texas Art Director Atlee Phillips says. “They’re sold in Texas because Texas collectors are so passionate about them, and they are so identified as Texas. But that doesn’t mean they don’t fit into the larger story of American Art and they couldn’t sell easily in one of our American Art auctions.
“Texas Art is a really big category, and it’s as diverse as the state itself, and the works in this auction really reflect that diversity. Part of the appeal is that because people have such strong feelings for the artists and for the state itself, people really want to keep it and not let it go. So when you have a chance to acquire pieces like some of the best lots in this sale, you have to realize what a rare opportunity that is, because the demand continues to grow.”
Julian Onderdonk’s In the Mesquite Brush, South West Texas, 1915 (estimate: $30,000-$50,000) comes from a lifelong naturalist whom Phillips calls “the seminal father of Texas landscape painting.” His artistic family, which includes his father, Robert Jenkins Onderdonk, moved to San Antonio when it was hailed as “the artist colony of Texas” in the late 19th century. Onderdonk often painted landscapes in the Hill Country in Central Texas, making this image of South Texas an outlier. It is consigned by the grandson of the owner of a San Antonio jewelry store that held a posthumous show for Onderdonk’s artwork in November 1922; he died Oct. 27 that year.
Onderdonk’s Woodland Road, 1908 (estimate: $8,000-$12,000) also is offered in the sale.
David Bates’ Self Portrait (estimate: $30,000-$50,000) is a fascinating work. At first glance, it looks like a painting, but it’s really more of a sculpture, specifically a three-dimensional mixed media on panel. Multiple planes jut out from the surface in a complex cubist composition that looks different depending on the angle from which you view the work. Born in Dallas, Bates is an extremely popular realistic figure and narrative painter whose work is in exceptionally high demand. He completed this piece in a time of mourning following the deaths of both of his parents.
Self Portrait is one of two Bates lots in the auction, which also includes Pensacola, 1992 (estimate: $20,000-$40,000).
Other top lots in the auction include:
- José Vives-Atsara’s Las Casas Del Castillo, 1978 (estimate: $10,000-$15,000)
- G. Harvey’s A New Spring (estimate: $8,000-$12,000); Morning Surf, 1967 (estimate: $5,000-$7,000); and Bluffs Along Bull Creek, 1970 (estimate: $5,000-$7,000)
- Olin Travis’ Uncle Buck McClellan (estimate: $7,000-$9,000)
- Robert William Wood’s Autumn in the Mountains (estimate: $5,000-$7,000); Floral Pastures (estimate: $5,000-$7,000); and Bluebonnet Bliss (estimate: $5,000-$7,000)
- John Biggers’ Shotguns study 1990 (estimate: $5,000-$7,000)
- Donald Stanley Vogel’s In the Garden, 1986 (estimate: $5,000-$7,000)