John Singer Sargent's Dennis Miller Bunker Painting at Calcot
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Dennis Miller Bunker Painting at Calcot
John Singer Sargent -- American painter 
Oil on canvas
26 3/4 x 25 in.
Terra Museum of American Art, Evanston Illinois
Terra Collection
Jpg: Carol Gerten's Fine Art

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Dennis Miller Bunker was a young American painter from Boston. He had first met Sargent in Boston the winter of '87-'88 through Mrs. Isabella Stewart Gardner, a patron of both Sargent and the young Bunker.

In the Summer, Bunker plans to visited Sargent at Calcot and writes to Mrs Gardner: 

June 25, 1888

I expect to be off in the country in a few days. Sargent has found a charming place near Reading . . . . willows, boats -- and I hope pretty girls-- . . .  I don't know just how you are going to see J.S.S. He may be going to Paris but you know how hard  it is to tell where he'll go . . . The youngest Miss Sargent [Violet] is awfully pretty-- charming. What if i should fall in love with her? Dreadful thought, but I'm sure to -- I see it coming -- It is at moments like these that I feel most keenly the absence of your restraining hand.

Dennis Miller

(Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Correspondence, Archives of American Art)

Sargent's father was very ill and he may or may not have gone to Paris. If he did, it was for a short time. He spends a great deal of time caring for his father and with family and friends.

The painting is of Dennis Miller Bunker standing back from his own painting with Sargent's sister Violet (who would have been approximately 18 years old) sitting at the edge of a creek. It is painted in a free style, heavy and unfinished in the impressionists sense with the color range being very muted. Blacks and browns and muted greens predominate in the surrounding scene and we see a heavy contrast between the white suit of Dennis' clothes and Violets blouse against her black skirt. 



John Singer Sargent, An Exhibition -- Whitney Museum, NY & The Art Institute of Chicago 1986-1987

Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting: Royal Academy of Arts, London; Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, FL; 2005-2006

  • See the years 1887-1888
  • American Impressionism, William H. Gerdts, Abbeville Press, NY, 1984
By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1999


By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2005 all rights reserved