Arthur Prince Spear is known for his imaginary paintings of nymphs, fauns and under-sea dwellers of an imaginary world of a very personal nature. Arthur Spear could be considered an "American Impressionist" yet he remains in a unique position...His art cannot be so easily classified and Spear belongs in a rare group of painters who have been in the minority of any generation in the history of American Art.
Arthur Prince Spear (1879–1959) was a renowned American painter recognized for his imaginative depictions of nymphs, fauns, and aquatic beings. Born on September 23, 1879, in Washington, D.C., to Sarah and Ellis Spear, he briefly attended the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington University before dedicating himself entirely to painting. Spear honed his skills from 1899 to 1902 at the Art Students League of New York and developed close friendships with fellow artists Arthur Crisp and Harry Hoffman during his studies. Seeking further artistic growth, he ventured to Paris in 1902 to study under the tutelage of the French artist Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian. In 1905, Spear tied the knot with Grace Chapman in Portland, Maine. After completing his studies in 1907, he returned to Boston, where he taught life drawing at the Fenway School of Illustration. He maintained both an art studio at Boston's Fenway Studios and a summer residence in Friendship, Maine. Throughout his career, Spear displayed a penchant for experimentation, frequently changing his subjects and artistic styles. His works from 1907 to 1915 focused on historical sites in Boston, but in 1915, he shifted to the American Impressionism style, producing numerous paintings featuring women. From 1917 onwards, his style evolved further, characterized by vibrant colors, fantastical scenes, and whimsical subjects ranging from mermaids to satyrs, with his children often serving as models. During the Great Depression, the demand for expensive art declined, prompting Spear to create lithographs of his earlier paintings to supplement his income. Unfortunately, after 1944, he ceased painting and destroyed a substantial portion of his work. In 1951, a retrospective exhibition of his art took place at The Guild of Boston Artists, showcasing his illustrious career. Spear was affiliated with various artistic organizations, including The Guild of Boston Artists, the St. Botolph Club, the New York Watercolor Club, the Allied American Artists, and he was an Associate of the National Academy of Design. He received accolades for his work, such as winning a silver medal for his piece "Spring in the City" in 1915 at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Additionally, he garnered recognition from the National Academy of Design, earning the Benjamin Altman Prize for "Sunrise" in 1921 and the Henry Ward Ranger Fund Purchase Prize for "The Little Princess" in 1924. Arthur Spear
Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA