The Cities, the Towns, the Crowds: The Paintings of Robert Spencer (Hardcover)

The Cities, the Towns, the Crowds: The Paintings of Robert Spencer By Brian H. Peterson Cover Image
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In 1906 a young painter named Robert Spencer moved from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the bucolic Bucks County region in nearby southeastern Pennsylvania. Over the next twenty-five years, Spencer became one of the most prominent artists in the Pennsylvania impressionist art colony, a group of nationally known landscape painters centered in the picturesque village of New Hope. His first major success came when the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased Repairing the Bridge in 1914. He won a gold medal in 1915 at the prestigious Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. After Spencer's death, the celebrated collector Duncan Phillips praised him as a rebel always against the standardized and stereotyped in art. Phillips believed that there was no other painter, not John Sloan, or Edward Hopper, more pungently American in expression.

In matters of style, Spencer differed radically from his Pennsylvania impressionist colleagues. He made his reputation with skillful, evocative renderings of the everyday life of his community, often depicting the mills, tenements, and factories of New Hope and the surrounding areas. A landscape without a building or a figure, he said, is a very lonely picture to me. Later Spencer began to experiment with a looser, more spontaneous style, and he painted more fanciful European scenes, many of which were done from his imagination. Spencer's canvas Mountebanks and Thieves won a prize at the 1926 Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh, and juror Pierre Bonnard said, Mr. Spencer . . . is in the full vigor of his talent, which is great. His art does not resemble European art, a rare fact in America.

Spencer battled depression throughout his adult life and committed suicide in 1931. This book tells the story of Spencer's colorful yet tragic life, using as sources the written recollections of his two daughters as well as extensive new research. Illustrated with nearly seventy-five color images from major museums and private collections, the book examines the artist's work in depth, from his unformed beginnings to his mature New York City and European images. Extensive excerpts from his correspondence with Duncan Phillips and from press articles and reviews are also included, making The Cities, the Towns, the Crowds the definitive study of this important American painter.

About the Author

Brian H. Peterson, Senior Curator at the James A. Michener Art Museum, is the editor and principal author of Pennsylvania Impressionism, available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780812238297
ISBN-10: 081223829X
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Publication Date: July 8th, 2004
Pages: 158
Language: English

Situated on the main street of the historic Delaware Riverfront town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, Farley’s Bookshop and its knowledgeable, experienced staff have endeavored to satisfy the literary tastes of the area inhabitants for over fifty years. Whether you are Bucks County born-and-bred or just stopping by to enjoy the crisp river air and delightful scenery, you will be pleasantly surprised to find the largest and most diverse collection of books-in-print in Bucks County. Farley’s may have competition, but it has few peers. We encourage you to browse our website, but please remember that getting acquainted with our online persona is no substitute for exploring the narrow passageways and teeming shelves of our storefront and discovering that perfect book nestled amongst so many others.

New Hope for American Art

                                               New Hope for American Art is the most comprehensive book ever published on artists from, and surrounding, the New Hope Art Colony (also known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists). This book, with its 612 pages and over 1,000 color plates of artwork include biographies of 165 individual Pennsylvania Impressionists and New Hope Modernists as well as artists from the Philadelphia Ten, a pioneering group of women all educated at Philadelphia art schools. 

In this book, you'll find biographies and artwork from such artists as:

  • Daniel Garber
  • Edward Redfield
  • George Sotter
  • Arthur Meltzer
  • Robert Spencer
  • William Langson Lathrop
  • Kenneth Nunamaker
  • John Folinsbee
  • Henry Snell
  • William F. Taylor
  • Fern Coppedge
  • M. Elizabeth Price
  • Clarence Johnson
  • S. George Phillips
  • Rae Sloan Bredin
  • Walter Baum
  • Walter Schofield
  • Morgan Colt
  • Charles Rosen
  • Joseph Meierhans
  • Charles F. Ramsey
  • Louis Stone
  • Charles Evans
  • Josef Zenk

New Hope for American Art was authored, designed and published by James M. Alterman, an expert in the field of Pennsylvania Impressionist and Modernist painting. A longtime collector and owner of two fine art galleries, Alterman wanted to create a user-friendly book intended not only to educate collectors and enthusiasts about this art but to help train one's eye. The book offers valuable tips on how to avoid common mistakes often experienced by new collectors drawn from the author's personal experiences as a collector and fine art dealer.