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 Robert Douglas Hunter  (1928 - )

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: still life, portrait, and landscape painting, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
Robert Douglas Hunter
from Auction House Records.
Still Life with Vase
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
From Boston, Massachusetts, Robert Hunter is a classical-realist painter who studied and then taught at the Vesper George School of Art in Boston.  He studied on Cape Cod with Henry Hensche and was a student of R.H. Ives Gammell from 1950 to 1955. He also taught at the Worcester Art Museum from 1965 to 1975.

Hunter has received numerous prizes including in 1966 the John Singleton Copley Award, the Copley Medallion in 1988, of which he was the first recipient, and the 1989 Guild of Boston Artists Award.

Associations include the American Society of Classical Realists.  In 2001 the Cape Museum of Fine Arts dedicated a retrospective exhibition to the work of Hunter.

Tree's Place Gallery, Conference booklet, "Artist Panelists from the 2004 Conference on Representational Painting".

Biography from Tree's Place Gallery:

“We strive in our early years to learn our craft; therefore we search for a master teacher who has demonstrated this in his own work. Afterwards, there comes a long period of growth during which we experiment, embracing some ideas for fuller development and discarding others not useful to our creative needs. When our work begins to reveal individuality, it is still essential to pursue an honest an honest observation of nature interpreted within the framework of varied compositions of our invention. If we fail at this point, we run the risk of displaying mannerisms that will inhibit our artistic growth. This is no small matter. It is a formidable challenge that we try to meet with all our resources. Yet the measure of our artistic success rests in the evaluation of generations yet to come.” ~ Robert Douglas Hunter, 2005

If there were a brick and mortar educational art institution called “The Boston School”, then Robert Douglas Hunter would surely be its Dean. As it is, the label Boston School is applied rather loosely to artists who have received much of their training from master painters whose techniques are derived from R.H. Ives Gammell’s adaptation of French atelier instruction. In this sense as well, Hunter has long been recognized as an informal “Dean” of the movement, adding his own particular signature to the Boston School emphasis on carefully planned compositions, accurate drawing, and a delight in the ability of light and shadow to create atmosphere in painting. He has personally taught well over forty students who are now accomplished full time professional artists, and in turn these students and their students have been responsible for training many others.

Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1928, Hunter served in the Marines before graduating from the Vesper George School of Art in 1949.  He studied with Henry Hensche, and then intensively with R.H. Ives Gammell from 1950 to 1955. Simultaneously in 1950 he began a teaching career at the Vesper George School of Art which lasted until the school closed in 1983. He also taught at the Worcester Art Museum from 1965 to 1975.

Hunter has won more than thirty regional and national prizes, including the first John Singleton Copley Award (1966), and fourteen Gold Medals at the annual exhibition of New England artists held by the Jordan Marsh Company, Boston. In recognition of his painting and teaching, he has won a Citation from the Governor of Massachusetts (1979). He was the first winner of the Copley Medallion (1988); and was the 1989 winner of the Guild of Boston Artists Award.

He was featured in a major article in American Artist magazine (September, 1990), and is listed in Who's Who in American Art, Prize Winning Art, and Who's Who in the East. In early 2001, the Cape Cod Museum of Art opened a new naturally lit gallery named in Hunter’s honor, and mounted a retrospective exhibition of his paintings in the new space.

A member of the Copley Society of Boston, the Guild of Boston Artists, the Provincetown Art Association, and the Allied Artists of America, Hunter has paintings  in the collections of the Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, N.C.; the Chrysler Art Museum, Norfolk, Virginia; the Maryhill Museum in Goldendale, Washington, (Solo Exhibition, 1988); The Michelson Museum of Art, Marshall, Texas; and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, Pennsylvania.  His work is also in collections at Harvard University, Northeastern University, Phillips Andover Academy, Tufts University, and in numerous private and corporate collections including the New England Life Insurance Company and the John Hancock Insurance Company.

Biography from The Copley Society of Boston:

Robert Douglas Hunter was born in Boston in 1928, and has lived in Massachusetts all his life.  He enrolled at Vesper George School of Art in Boston after his discharge from the Marine Corps and graduated with honors in 1949.  During the summers of 1949 and 1950, Hunter studied painting with Henry Hensche at the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown.  It was there that he met R.H. Ives Gammell, who then maintained a summer studio in Provincetown and with whom Hunter studied from 1950 to 1955.

Hunter was himself an instructor at the Vesper George School of Art from 1950 until its closing in 1983.  He was also on the teaching staff of the Worcester Art Museum from 1965 to 1975, and he has taught privately for over 40 years.  Hunter was also instrumental in the continuation of the Gammell teaching studio after the artist's death.

A member of many professional organizations including the Copley Society of Boston, the Guild of Boston Artists, and the Provincetown Art Association, Hunter has won numerous awards for his work.  In 1979, Hunter received a citation from the Governor of Massachusetts in recognition of his many years of painting in Provincetown an Boston and his contribution to the education of youth.

His work can be found in numerous public, museum and corporate collections including the Chrysler Museum, Virginia; Harvard University; Phillips Academy, Andover, MA; the Boston Archdiocese; Maryhill Museum of Art, Goldendale, WA.

In early 2001, a gallery was dedicated in Hunter's honor at the Cape Museum of Fine Arts, Dennis, MA. Hunter now lives and works in Walpole, MA. His wife of more than 30 years, Elizabeth Ives Hunter, is the author of a biography of R.H. Ives Gammell, soon to be released.  Hunter has three children.

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