Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dennis Miller Bunker

Dennis Miller Bunker's "The Pool, Medfield" which hangs in the Boston MFA

We can measure the extent of Bunker's achievement in this difficult branch of art by comparing his landscapes with those of the painters who have been universally considered its leading exponents. Placed beside the best Medfield studies, the one in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (note: not the one above), for instance, or the painting entitled "The Brook, Medfield", Claude Monet's pictures look a little candy-colored and artificial, while even Sisley's seem rather haphazard and incomplete. Standing before the best Renoirs one thinks of fuzziness and a lack of solidarity. Dennis Bunker's landscapes look simply right.
Standing in the Gardner Museum, "The Brook, Medfield" immediately caught my eye. In the words of Tina Fey, when I saw it I thought, "I want to go to there." It looked like an open field on a summer's day, with a creek running through it, like bare feet and cloud watching. Like a warm breeze. 

Bunker died young (age 29). Maybe that's why I had never seen his paintings before. Maybe because his work is mostly based in Boston, and I had never been there before this month. To learn more about him, I checked out the only book in the DC library system about him, the aforementioned biography that was written in the 1950s. (When the author talks about "the 90s" in the book, he means that 1890s. Whoa.) All the paintings and pictures are in black and white, which feels blasphemous for a book about an artist. 

The biography is tiny. Including the index and several pages of paintings/drawings, it clocks in at 81 pages. And it bears repeating: all the pictures in the book are in black and white. 

Surely Dennis Miller Bunker deserves better than that. I mean, look at the above painting!

[I'm an Amazon Affiliate, so if you follow a link from here to Amazon and purchase something, I get a portion of the price at no extra cost to you. I checked out Dennis Miller Bunker from the local library]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I know this is an old post but there is a book out there with color reproductions of Bunker, I've read through it, though that's all the info I have for ya. Sorry. Doubt it's in print anymore but they're out there!

Bunker is one of my favorite artists!