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 W. Spencer Crooks  (1917 - 2004)

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Lived/Active: Rhode Island / Ireland      Known for: landscape painting, illustration

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Ad Code: 4
W. Spencer Crooks Watercolor
Watercolor 7 1/4" X 10 3/4"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An award-winning painter, teacher, tenor and member of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, Crooks was best known for his prints of Rhode Island landmarks.  He began painting at the Pawtucket Boys Club, where the canvas of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer he painted which won first place at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933 hung for many years.  He was a member of the Pawtucket Boys Club Alumni.

An Army veteran of World War II, serving in Company B, 355th Army Engineers, he had won four first-place awards at the All Soldier Show judged by the Honorable Sir Alfred Munnings of the Royal Academy.  A dramatic tenor, he sang for the American Forces Radio Network while stationed in England, and later sang with the New England Opera Theater.  In 1949, he was a summer student of the Metropolitan Opera Company at Tanglewood under an RCA scholarship.  He also studied at the Longy School of Music.  In addition to having his work exhibited in the Royal Academy during the war, his works were also displayed at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, as part of the permanent collection at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1945, the Providence Art Club, the Tilden Thurber Art Gallery, and Tanglewood, both in 1949, and the Symphony Hall Galleries, Boston, and the Rhode Island Festival of the Arts, both in 1959. 

As founder of the Newport-Wickford Watercolor Workshop, in 1973, he gave watercolor demonstrations and art instruction to many aspiring artists over the years, and was responsible for making a name for the Wickford Art Show.  Before joining the Army, he had attended the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 1948.  He later received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Roger Williams College in 1986. He was a member of the faculty at Rhode Island College before retiring in 1983.  Mr. Crooks had been inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 1987, and served on its board until 1999.

He was a member of the Providence Art Club, the Providence Watercolor Club, the Philadelphia Watercolor Club, the Rockport Art Association, and the South County Art Association.

Born in Belfast, Ireland in 1917, Crooks died in Warwick, Rhode Island on April 23, 2004.

Source:
Obituary, The Providence Journal, April 2004

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