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

Dennis Miller Bunker papers, 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 ft.

Summary: The Dennis Miller Bunker collection of letters, an exhibition catalog, and a few 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. Letters dating from 1882 to 1889 are primarily to Bunker's friend Joseph Evans (46 letters) in New York City and discuss work, projects, his dislike of teaching, mutual interests and friends, and other topics. 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

Dennis Miller Bunker (1861-1890) was a painter from New York, N.Y. Bunker married Eleanor Hardy in October 1890. He died in December of that year.

Provenance

Material on reel 1201 and 2773 donated 1974 by William and Geoffrey Platt. William is the son of Eleanor Hardy Bunker, widow of Bunker, by a second marriage. Photograph (photocopy) and clipping on reel 1201 (fr. 990-991,995) donated 1974 by Frederick D. Hill of Berry-Hill Galleries. Two photographs, ca. 1886, donated 1977 by Catherine B. Ramsdell and microfilmed in 1980 as part of AAA's Photographs of Artists-Collection II and scanned in 2004.

Related Materials

Funding

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

A Finding Aid to the Dennis Miller Bunker Collection,
1882-1943
(bulk 1882-1890)
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.bunkdenn
Finding aid prepared by Erin Corley
Scope and Content Note
The Dennis Miller Bunker collection of letters, an exhibition catalog, and a few 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. Letters dating from 1882 to 1889 are primarily to Bunker's friend Joseph Evans (46 letters) in New York City and discuss work, projects, his dislike of teaching, mutual interests and friends, and other topics. Four volumes of letterpress books, circa 1889-1890, contain letters to Bunker's fiancée Eleanor Hardy wherein he discusses their plans for the future, his work, his studio, friends, artists, and general news prior to their marriage in October, 1890 and his untimely death a few months later. There is also a 1943 exhibition catalog and three photographs of Bunker.
Biographical 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.
Bunker always felt like an outsider in Boston's society and in the Spring of 1889 resigned his teaching position at Cowles Art School, lived briefly that summer at Medfield, Massachusetts, and then moved back to New York City. Earlier that year he had met Eleanor Heady of Boston and they were married in October 1890. They moved into Sherwood Studios in New York City, but during a visit to Boston that Christmas Bunker fell ill and died at the age of 29.
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection, there is only one series. Items are arranged chronologically within each folder.
Provenance
Material on reel 1201 and 2773 donated 1974 by William and Geoffrey Platt. William is the son of Eleanor Hardy Bunker, widow of Bunker, by a second marriage. Photograph (photocopy) and clipping on reel 1201 (fr. 990-991,995) donated 1974 by Frederick D. Hill of Berry-Hill Galleries. Two photographs, ca. 1886, donated 1977 by Catherine B. Ramsdell and microfilmed in 1980 as part of AAA's Photographs of Artists-Collection II and scanned in 2004.
Processing Information
The Dennis Miller Bunker collection received a preliminary level of processing at some point after donation. Material was microfilmed in the order that it was donated on reels 1201, 2773, and 1817. The various accessions were merged and fully processed by Erin Corley in 2006 and digitized in 2007 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Dennis Miller Bunker papers, 1882-1943, bulk 1882-1890. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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