Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Four Watercolors by Walter M. Dunk

by John Adcock

Walter M. Dunk was born in Philadelphia in 1855. In the 70s he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he was a pupil of Thomas Eakins. By 1882 he was president of the Philadelphia Sketch Club, a director of the Philadelphia Art Club, and ‘prominent in the literary circles of the Quaker City.’ About 1890 he inherited $100,000. 

[1] Watercolor painting, January 28, 1885.
As author-illustrator, in addition to his watercolor painting, Dunk contributed ‘serials’ (strip cartoons) to the Harper Brothers chain of magazines. Examples of his comic work are HERE and HERE. Thomas Eakins had taught his students about motion photography, following the example of Eadweard Muybridge. He used a zoetrope in his classes, a cylindrical device which animated photographs. Muybridge was very influential on 19th century comic strip artists and Dunk, via Eakins, could probably be added to the list of the influenced. See ‘Muybridge and the Comic Strip’ HERE and HERE.

[2] Watercolor painting, November 2, 1886.
In 1886 Dunk married Eleanore Gilmore, one of his models. It is possible she was the model for some of these paintings. The couple divorced in 1891 (see ‘She was an Adventuress’ HERE) and Dunk then married Laura V.M.H. Dunk and lived in Rye, New York, Westchester County. The date of Dunk’s death is unknown and may have happened overseas. Research by the owner of the paintings turned up the death of one Walter Dunk in 1925 in West Redding, Yorkshire, England.

[3] Watercolor painting.
Dunk illustrated The Goddess of Atvatabar; being the history of the discovery of the interior world, and conquest of Atvatabar by William R. Bradshaw, New York: J.F. Douthitt, 1892. In 1893 he illustrated All or Nothing, a novel based on the assassination of Alexander II, from the Russian of Count Nepomuk Czapski, published by Robert Bonner and Sons.

These four beautiful watercolors are from the collection of Catherine Pape, who generously offered to share them with Yesterday’s Papers readers. The paintings are for sale, anyone with an interest can send me an email for contact details.

[4] Watercolor painting, Bushkill, 1892.
[5] Down in Bom-Bombay, sheet music cover, 1892.
[6] Dunk’s initials, 1886.
[7] Dunk’s signature, 1885.
[8] Bird Lore, Vol. 718, 1915-16.
[9] ‘Art in the Quaker City,’ illustration in The Continent, Vol. 3, No. 1, Jan. 3, 1883, p.14.
[10] ‘The Goddess of Atvatabar,’ 1892.
Detail of watercolor [4].

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