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    Description

    DENNIS MILLER BUNKER (American, 1861-1890)
    Portrait of a Woman, circa 1890
    Oil on canvas
    22 x 18 inches (55.9 x 45.7 cm)
    Incised across bottom of canvas: Friday 9 am

    PROVENANCE:
    The artist;
    Mrs. Isabella Stewart Gardner, Boston, Massachusetts 1890;
    The Detroit Institute of Arts, as gift from Mrs. Gardner, 1907-93;
    Sotheby's, New York, May 27, 1993, lot 23;
    Warren Adelson, New York;
    Babcock Galleries, New York;
    Private collection, New York.


    EXHIBITED:
    St. Botolph Club, Boston, "Dennis Miller Bunker, Memorial Exhibition", 1891, no. 27
    (as The Dark Haired Model).

    LITERATURE:
    E. Hirschler, Dennis Miller Bunker: American Impressionist, Boston, 1994, p. 179.

    Bostonian Isabella Stewart Gardner, the preeminent Gilded Age art collector, befriended and championed numerous contemporary artists, such as John Singer Sargent, Henry James, Bernard Berenson, and Dennis Miller Bunker. Born in New York, Bunker moved to Boston in 1885 and, quickly swept under Gardner's wing, painted various portraits of her family, including her brother-in-law and his children. It was through Gardner that Bunker met John Singer Sargent, who would become his great friend and mentor. In 1888, after Sargent left Boston for New York, Bunker inherited his clients, Boston's wealthiest and most prominent families.

    Portrait of a Woman exemplifies Bunker's facility in capturing human beauty and character with the simplest of compositions. By limiting the color of the model's dress and the background to black tones, he focuses attention on her illuminated, elegantly turned face. This portrait was featured in a memorial exhibition of Bunker's work, organized shortly after his death by fellow artist Charles Platt and other friends. Today major museum collections, in Boston and beyond, possess paintings by Bunker, validating art historian Ted Stebbins' praise: "Bunker is now regarded as one of the major painters at work during the penultimate decade of the nineteenth century in America."


    Condition Report*: Slightly undulating original canvas; under UV examination, two tiny dots of in-painting in central dress region; otherwise very good condition.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,118

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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