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Dennis Miller Bunker collection, 1882-1943, bulk 1882-1890

Bunker, Dennis Miller, 1861-1890

Painter, Portrait painter

The papers of Dennis Miller Bunker in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 1,237 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 0.4 Linear feet

Summary: The Dennis Miller Bunker collection of letters, an exhibition catalog, and photographs measures 0.4 linear feet and dates from 1882 to 1943, with the bulk of the material dating from 1882 to 1890. Most of the collection consists of letters to Bunker's friend Joseph Evans (46 letters) in New York City, written between 1882-1889. Four volumes of letterpress books, circa 1889-1890, contain letters to Bunker's fiancée Eleanor Hardy prior to their marriage in the fall of 1890, and his untimely death a few months later. There are also a 1943 exhibition catalog and three photographs of Bunker.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter Dennis Miller Bunker (1861-1890) was born in New York City and from 1878 to 1881 studied at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League with William Merritt Chase. He traveled to Paris and attended the Ecole des Beaux Art where Jean-Leon Gerome was his teacher, graduating in 1885. He returned to the United States and took at job in Boston teaching at the Cowles Art School. That same year Bunker had his first one-man exhibition at the Noyes & Blakeslee Gallery in Boston. In the winter of 1885-1886 he met and befriended Isabella Stewart Gardner who became a great supporter and patron of his work. A few years later in 1887 Bunker met John Singer Sargent during Sargent's visit to Boston and, in 1888, spent the summer with Sargent at Calcot Mill in England painting plein-air landscapes. That summer was a turning point for Bunker's painting style as he became greatly influenced by impressionism and turned to brighter colors and looser brushwork. He brought this style back with him to Boston and was praised for his new work.

Provenance

Letters were donated in 1974 by William and Geoffrey Platt, sons of Eleanor Hardy by her second marriage. Printed material and one photograph were donated in 1974 by Frederick D. Hill of Berry-Hill Galleries. Two photographs of Bunker were donated in 1977 by Catherine B. Ramsdell.

Related Materials

Funding

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.