DB Fine Art, Harrington Park, New Jersey
Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, New York, New York, acquired from above, 2005
Mr. Charles Elchoueri, New York, 2012
Niles Spencer was an important American modernist whose work is associated with a group of American painters known as the precisionists, a loosely knit group that included Charles Sheeler, Charles Demuth, and Rawlston Crawford. Known for their sharp lines, precise forms, and smooth finish, the precisionists attempted to convey the inherent order of architectural and industrial sites. Their spare, geometric renderings of factories, skyscrapers, and bridges reduced the American landscape to a precise arrangement of abstract patterns. Spencer's work stands out for its moody, atmospheric quality—built up from a careful layering of paint and an expressionistic use of color.
Providence, Rhode Island is a unique work within Spencer's oeuvre—a rare harbor scene from an artist known for his block-like urban landscapes. The painting is striking in its bright airiness, providing a marked contrast to the gray, industrial landscapes that established his artistic reputation.
Spencer received several honors throughout his career, including a national mural commission from the Department of the Treasury and a purchase prize from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum of Modern Art put on a memorial exhibition of his work in 1954, and the Whitney Museum of American Art held a major retrospective in 1990. Today, his paintings are featured in these museums, as well as the Brooklyn Museum, The Butler Institute of American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Smithsonian American Art Museum.