Robert Spear Dunning (1829–1905)
Robert Spear Dunning is widely considered a leading figure of nineteenth-century American still life painting. He was a founder of the Fall River school, one of the most important regional schools specializing in still life painting, and acknowledged as one its masters. Born in Brunswick, Maine, Dunning and his family eventually moved to Fall River, Massachusetts, a major industrial center where the artist would spend much of his life. After working in a textile mills and as a sailor, Dunning studied painting, first under James Roberts and finally under noted painter Daniel Huntington. The artist then settled in Fall River, where he became a beacon of its artistic community, founding the Fall River Evening Drawing School in 1870. By 1865, Dunning began concentrating his efforts on still life painting, specialized in highly illusionistic, detailed, and compactly-structured compositions. His works can be found at Terra Foundation for American Art and the Wichita Art Museum.