Of all the subjects Robert Wood painted, it is his scenes of Texas Bluebonnets that are most sought after. Wood lived in and around San Antonio from 1924 to 1941, but he painted scenes of Texas for the rest of his career. From
his arrival in the United States in 1910 until 1924, Robert W. Wood
had moved frequently, seldom staying in one place for more than a few
months. After his marriage to Eyssel Del Wagoner in Florida, he
continued moving, spending time in Ohio, where Florence Wood was
born. It wasn't until discovering the beautiful Texas city of San
Antonio in 1924 that Wood finally put down roots. There he studied
with the Spanish painter Jose Arpa (b. 1868), who had settled in
Texas for good in 1923.
San Antonio, Wood made the transition from being an itinerant artist
who usually worked in small sizes to a fine easel painter, capable
of great subtlety. After a great deal of experimentation, Wood reached
his mature style in the later 1920s.
is generally flat, without the dramatic mountains that Wood had
painted along the west coast or in the Rockies. Consequently, like
other early Texas painters like Robert Onderdonk (1853-1917) or
his son Julian Onderdonk (1882-1922), Wood concentrated on the distinctive
Texas trees and wildflowers. He became known for his scenes of the
Blue Lupin, or "bluebonnets," the state flower of Texas.
In the spring, fields of these flowers cover the Texas prairie,
especially in the area around San Antonio and the hill country of
central Texas. Wood also often included the rough stone or wood
farmhouses of the Texas pioneers in his compositions, adding to
their visual interest.
early works of Wood's mature period are distinguished by a fine
sense of detail, with a technique that is more reminiscent of late-19th-century
Victorian landscape painters or our own Hudson River School than
the works of the French Impressionists. Still, Wood's palette was
informed by his knowledge of Impressionism, and it was up to the
task of capturing the intense light of the midday sun.
after Wood's move to the art colony of Laguna Beach in 1941, he
continued to paint Texas scenes. On trips back to San Antonio to
visit his daughter Florence, who had married there, he sketched
the bluebonnets and red oaks. So Texas scenes, painted from sketches
and memory, remained part of Wood's artistic production until the
end of his life. The later works are more broadly painted and show
a much greater influence of Impressionism.
2003 Jeffrey Morseburg. Not to be reproduced without specific written