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Dennis Miller Bunker (American, 1861–1890)
Figures in a Cart, 1881
Signed and dated lower right, D.M. Bunker/1881
Gouache on heavy paper, 10 x 16 inches
Courtesy of Brock & Co.

Dennis Miller Bunker was one of the earliest American painters to adopt the new impressionist style. Before his premature death at 29, Bunker had earned the respect of critics, fellow artists, and prominent collectors. His career and personal life were on the rise. After a summer in England painting with John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925) and some time in New York, Bunker returned to Boston in 1890 to marry his love, Miss Eleanor Hardy. He died only three months later.

According to Erica Hirshler, Curator of Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and author of Dennis Miller Bunker: American Impressionist (Boston: MFA, 1990), early in his career Bunker spent a part of his summers from 1877 to 1879 sketching rural subjects in Lowville, a small town in upstate New York. Figures in a Cart, and perhaps other country-themed works that have not been located, may have been based on sketches made in Lowville. Bunker exhibited a work titled Country Children (location unknown) at the National Academy of Design in 1882.

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