Road to the Hills


Julian Onderdonk ( American, 1882 - 1922 )

c. 1918
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General Description

Within the realm of early Texas art, Julian Onderdonk is recognized as the artist who most successfully applied the tenets of Impressionism to the portrayal of the state’s varied landscape and natural beauty. While he is most known for capturing the particular splendor of fields blanketed by bluebonnets, the present painting is a tour-de-force departure from that theme. Created at the height of his career, Road to the Hills reveals the artist’s exceptional observational skills and technical prowess in the mastery of the optical effects wrought by the bright, reflective light of mid-day sun on an isolated road in the Texas Hill Country.

Adapted from

Sue Canterbury, Label text, 2015.

Fun Facts

  • This painting is one of the earliest gifts received by the DMA.
  • Road to the Hills was acquired in 1919, well before the advent of modern climate control systems, and the annual fluctuations of heat and humidity played havoc with the adhesion of the paint layers to the canvas. These issues kept the painting off view for approximately 40 years. With the financial support of the Dallas Shakespeare Club—the organization that originally gave the painting to the museum in 1919—the DMA's conservation department was able to restore physical stability and aesthetic integrity to this work.