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A lost Onderdonk painting is now up for grabs

A painting once headed for Goodwill could now sell for tens of thousands at an upcoming auction in Dallas.

The work, Julian Onderdonk’s A Field of Bluebonnets, San Antonio, was a gift to an Illinois family back in 1922 and stayed in the family for decades before anyone realized its value. It was even packed into a truck headed for donation before the owner decided to keep it.

The landscape is “a particularly stellar example from the acclaimed artist in his absolute prime,” according to a press release from Heritage Auctions. It is expected to sell for between $30,000 and $50,000 at auction with the current bid at $15,000.

Onderdonk is one of the most significant painters in Texas history. A 2008 Dallas Museum of Art retrospective wrote that “During his short life, Julian Onderdonk transformed the Texas landscape, creating indelible images of the Lone Star State.”

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A prolific landscape painter, he is best known for his images of the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet. According to the Texas State Historical Association, he began painting bluebonnets in 1911, and they later became “his most popular and marketable landscapes.”

Another Onderdonk bluebonnet painting, Blue Bonnets on Grey Day, North of San Antonio, Texas, is also on the block for the upcoming auction. It is estimated to sell for $60,000-$80,000 and has an opening bid set at $30,000.

Julian Onderdonk's "Blue Bonnets on Grey Day, North of San Antonio, Texas." It is one of the...
Julian Onderdonk’s “Blue Bonnets on Grey Day, North of San Antonio, Texas.” It is one of the paintings up up for auction June 29.(Heritage Auctions,

These are two of 107 pieces being auctioned as part of the Texas Art Signature Auction being held on June 29 by Heritage Auctions. The auction house is based in Dallas and it is the third largest of its kind in the world, according to its website.

Another well-known artist up for auction is Frank Reaugh, known as the “Dean of Texas Artists,” per the Texas State Historical Association. He has two pastel works, On Pease River and Palo Duro Canyon No. 1, up for auction.

Frank Reaugh's "On Pease River." It is one of the paintings up up for auction June 29.
Frank Reaugh’s “On Pease River.” It is one of the paintings up up for auction June 29.(Heritage Auctions,

Reaugh is of particular importance to Dallas art history. He donated the first painting to what is now the Dallas Museum of Art and later founded the Dallas School of Fine Arts, according to the TSHA.

Other notable artists include David Bates, Porfirio Salinas and Everett Franklin Spruce. A G. Harvey painting titled Turning the Herd is among the most valuable at the auction with a current bid at $15,500 and an estimated final price of up to three times that much.

“There is not a bad painting among the 107 lots of this small but highly curated auction. I cannot wait for collectors to see everything,” Atlee Phillips, Heritage Auctions’ director of Texas art, said in a news release.