Robert Spear Dunning was a co-founder and leader of the Fall River School of still life painting. As a boy he was employed in a Fall River mill. Later he worked in coastal shipping while studying art. In 1859 he joined with John E. Grouard to form the firm of Grouard & Dunning, artists. About 1865 he began to focus on still life paintings, although he also made frequent trips to New Hampshire to paint landscapes. In 1870 he founded the Fall River Evening Drawing School. Bright colors and detail characterize his style.
His addresses include New York City, Fall River Massachusetts, and Westport Harbor Massachusetts.
Dunning studied with James Roberts in Thomaston, ME and Daniel Huntington at the National Academy of Design. He exhibited at the National Academy of Design (1850, 1851, and 1880), the American Art-Union (1850), the Boston Art Club (1880), and the Providence Art Club.
His works are in the collections of the National Museum of American Art, the Fall River Historical Society, the Fall River Public Library, and the Swansea, MA Town Hall.
Great-grandnephew, John R. Dunning
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