The tragically short life of American Impressionist painter Dennis Miller Bunker demonstrated a remarkable talent, and an ability to translate the changing styles and influences of his time. In his ten years as a professional painter he created more than two hundred pictures, and earned a highly respected reputation. He was friends with Isabella Stewart Gardner, John Singer Sargent and Claude Monet, he was a teacher to William McGregor Paxton and Sarah Choate Sears, and he introduced American audiences to his own unique combination of Barbizon school realism and French Impressionism.
He began his professional studies at the age of fifteen when he enrolled in the National Academy of Design, and later at the Art Students League where he studied under William Merritt Chase. He then travelled to Pairs where he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and studied under Jean Leon Gerome. Additionally, he spent time at the Academie Julian as well, hoping to experience the diversity of styles appearing in art.
Upon his return to America he took a job teaching at the Cowles Art School in Boston, and began painting many commission portraits that he had obtained through his friendship with Gardner. He also was able to spend a summer in England with his friend Sargent, and this is where the Impressionist style first entered his work, though it would only appear in his landscapes and not his highly finished portraits.
His stylistic transition was not well received back in Boston, and Bunker relocated to New York. His final paintings were landscapes of the Charles River and were a great success with Boston audiences.
His paintings are in the collections of many museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.