Dennis Miller Bunker
Dennis Miller Bunker Gallery
The paintings of Bunker's early maturity in New York (ca. 1880-82) were often marine subjects, featuring a series of beached boats, painted on Long Island. In these he followed the standard academic practice of first painting loose, preparatory sketches (Beached, ca. 1881-2) prior to more conventionally finished exhibition pieces. The early portraits (Portrait of Walter Griffin, 1881, Portland Museum of Art) also evidence rigorous craftsmanship.
While studying in Paris, Bunker's summer excursions to the countryside resulted in another series, this time of scenes of Larmor, a town in Brittany. The focus of these compositions, be it church spire (Brittany Town Morning, Larmor, 1884, Terra Foundation for American Art), cemetery cross, or a lone tree (Tree, 1884-5, private collection), was invariably that of a richly painted, dark graphic shape against a bright sky. Nevertheless, the pictures are characterized by soft atmospheric effects and tonal subtlety. No less subtle are the landscapes Bunker painted after returning to America; paintings done in South Woodstock, Connecticut (Pines Beyond the Fence, 1886, private collection) still favor dramatic value contrasts, with subjects carefully painted against a light sky, but the palette has grown lighter, the color more saturated.
By 1887 Bunker completed his Portrait of Anne Page, a painting requiring much labor, but one of his most poignant works. In its restrained use of color, delicate modeling of form, and aesthetic elegance it is reminiscent of the works of Thayer and James McNeill Whistler. There soon followed the Boston commissions, portraits mostly of male sitters--still somber in tone, they are painted in a more confident manner, suggesting the influence of Sargent (Portrait of George Augustus Gardner, 1888, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).
Portrait Sketch of Eleanor Hardy Bunker, 1890. Private collection.That Bunker spent the summer of 1888 painting with Sargent is verified by personal correspondence, as well as through several pieces by the latter artist (Dennis Miller Bunker Painting at Calcot, 1888, Terra Foundation for American Art), but no paintings of the English sojourn by Bunker have survived; possibly he destroyed them in dissatisfaction. However, once back in Boston the experience came to fruition, for over the next two years Bunker produced a series of canvases which evidenced that he was one of the first American artists to fully understand and successfully practice impressionism. In the Greenhouse, ca. 1888, Chrysanthemums, 1888 (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), The Pool, Medfield, 1889 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), and Meadow Lands, 1890 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) all feature a rich palette, vertiginous compositions, and his unique "fish hook" shaped brush strokes.
At the same time, Bunker's last figure pieces remained faithful to his academic training. Jessica, 1890 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), The Mirror, 1890 (Terra Foundation for American Art), and Eleanor Hardy Bunker, 1890 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) are characterized by a restricted color range and heightened elegance. Related Paintings of Dennis Miller Bunker :. | Seascape, boats, ships and warships. 09 | Jessica | The Pool | The Pool,Medfield (nn020 | In the Greenhouse |
Related Artists:Arthur e.grimshaw
British, 1747-1809,was an English maritime painter. His father and twin brother (John Cleveley the Elder, c.1712?C1777, and John Cleveley the Younger, 1747?C1786) were also artists, with John the Younger (and possibly Robert too, to judge from his style) gaining some training in watercolours from Paul Sandby, previously a teacher at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. John the Elder had tried and failed to make a living in working in a dockyard, and so did Robert, as a caulker. However, mocked by other dockyard workers for wearing gloves whilst working, John did not enjoy his time there, giving it up and in 1770 volunteering for the navy as a clerk. His first service as a clerk was briefly under Captain William Locker (who acted as patron to artists probably known to John the Elder), then soon afterwards under Captain George Vandeput on his voyage in the Asia to the West Indies and North America, during which time Vandeput became a lifelong friend. The Asia returned in 1777, and from then to the end of his life Robert followed a double career as purser on board various ships stationed in the Home Fleet (though most probably exercising his functions through a deputy for some or all of the time) and as a marine painter. This meant he could exhibit his works as "Robert Cleveley of the Royal Navy". First exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1780, his specialism was naval battles (though he also produced pictures of royal naval occasions, such as his "View of the Fleet at Spithead Saluting George III at his Review in 1793", now at the National Maritime Museum) and many of his works were reproduced as engravings. Like his brother John, he also exploited their brother James' presence as a carpenter on Captain Cook's third voyage to gain access to art produced on the voyage and to produce art to cash in on the popular demand for South Sea images (eg a 1789 print of A view of Botany Bay). He did, however, still make occasional voyages with Vandeput, such as when he served as eassistant to the clerk of the kitchene in the royal entourage when the royal yacht Princess Augusta (under Vandeput) took Prince William Henry, later Duke of Clarence, to Hanover in July and August 1783.