American, b. 1928
If there were a brick and mortar educational art institution called “The Boston School,” then Robert Douglas Hunter would surely be its Dean. As it is, the label Boston School is applied rather loosely to artists who have received much of their training from master painters whose techniques are derived from R.H. Ives Gammell’s adaptation of French atelier instruction. In this sense as well, Hunter has long been recognized as an informal “Dean” of the movement, adding his own particular signature to the Boston School emphasis on carefully planned compositions, accurate drawing, and a delight in the ability of light and shadow to create atmosphere in painting. He has personally taught well over forty students who are now accomplished full-time professional artists, and in turn, these students have been responsible for training many others.
Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1928, Hunter served in the Marines before graduating form the Vesper George School of Art in 1949. He studied with Henry Hensche, and then intensively with R.H. Ives Gammell from 1950 to 1955. Simultaneously in 1950, he began a teaching career at the Vesper George School of Art which lasted until the school closed in 1983. He also taught at the Worcester Art Museum from 1965 to 1975.
Hunter has won more than thirty regional and national prizes, including the first John Singleton Copley Award (1966), and fourteen Gold Medals at the annual exhibition of New England artists held by the Jordan Marsh Company, Boston. In recognition of his painting and teaching, he won a Citation from the governor of Massachusetts (1979). He was the first winner of the Copley Medallion (1988); and was the 1989 winner of the Guild of Boston Artists Award. He was featured in a major article in American Artist magazine (September 1990), and is listed in Who’s Who in American Art, Prize Winning Art, and Who’s Who in the East. In early 2001, the Cape Cod Museum of Art opened a new naturally-lit gallery named in Hunter’s honor, and mounted a retrospective exhibition of his paintings in the new space. A member of the Copley Society of Boston, the Guild of Boston Artists, the Provincetown Art Association, and the Allied Artists of America, Hunter’s paintings are in the collections of the Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC; the Chrysler Art Museum, Norfolk, VA; the Maryhill Museum, Goldendale, WA (Solo Exhibition, 1988); The Michelson Museum of Art, Marshall, TX; and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA. His work is also in collections at Harvard University, Northeastern University, Phillips Andover Academy, Tufts University, and in numerous private and corporate collections including the New England Life Insurance Company and the John Hancock Insurance Company.
“We strive in our early years to learn our craft; therefore we search for a master teacher who has demonstrated this in his own work. Afterwards, there comes a long period of growth during which we experiment, embracing some ideas for fuller development and discarding others not useful to our creative needs. When our work begins to reveal individuality, it is still essential to pursue an honest observation of nature interpreted within the framework of varied compositions of our invention. If we fail at this point, we run the risk of displaying mannerisms that will inhibit our artistic growth.
This is no small matter. It is a formidable challenge that we try to meet with all our resources. Yet the measure of our artistic success rests in the evaluation of generations yet to come." - Robert Douglas Hunter, 2005
1928; Dorchester, Massachusetts
1949 Graduate of Vesper School of Art
Studied with Henry Henche and R.H.Ives Gammell 1950- 1955
1965 - 1975 Worcester Art Museum
1950 - 1983 Vesper School of Art
Demonstrations and Workshops - Provincetown Art Museum and The Guild of Boston Artists
Academic Artists of America
Allied Artists of America
American Artists Professional League
Copley Society of Boston
Guild of Boston Artists
Hudson Valley Art Association
Provincetown Art Association
Awards and Prizes:
Over 30 medals and prizes including:
- 14 Richard Mitton Gold Medals from the Annual Exhibition of New England Artists, Jordon Marsh Co. Boston, Massachusetts
- 1966 and 1967 Newington Prize, American Artists Professional League, NY
- 5 Awards from the North River Art Association, East Gloucester, MA
- 3 Awards from the Guild of Boston Artists, Boston, MA
- 1966 The first John Singleton Copley Award for most outstanding entry in the Copley Award for the most outstanding entry on the Copley Society Members Exhibition
2011 - The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod - Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts
2010 - WGBH honors Hunter for his continuous support over thirty-three years
2004 - The Guild of Boston Artists established an annual painting award in honor of Robert Douglas Hunter
2002 - Cape Cod Museum of Art names a gallery in honor of Robert Douglas Hunter
1995 - Distinguished Service Award from the North Shore ARC citing outstanding contributions to individuals with developmental disabilities
1979 - Citation from Edward J. King, Governor of Massachusetts, in recognition of his many years of painting in Provinceton and Boston and for his contribution to the education of youth
- Over 40 one man exhibitions in galleries through out the United States
2010 - 2012 Traveling Exhibition "The Subject is Light: The Henry and Sharon Martin Collection of Contemporary Realist Paintings" Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis, MA, Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, CT and the Mary Hill Museum of Art, Goldendale WA
2001 - Cape Cod Museum of Art
1998 - Maryhill Museum of Art, Glodendale, WA
2011 - Perspectives on the Provincetown Art Colony; Deborah Roman, Schiffer Publishing Ltd; Atglen, PA; 2011 pp 104-108
2008- American Art Collector - "Dean of the Boston School"
1990 - American Artist Magazine
1990- Edward Feit; "Robert Douglas Hunter in the Boston Tradition"
1970 - American Artist Magazine, Sept. The Site SIze Method of Painting
Who’s Who in American Art
Prize Winning Art
Ackland Art MuseumA