Dennis Miller Bunker (1861–1890)

Brittany Town Morning, Larmor, 1884

Oil on canvas, 14 x 22 in. (35.6 x 55.9 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1991.1

A promising painter who died young, Dennis Miller Bunker is known for his bucolic scenes bathed in the diffused light of northern France. He imbues the work here with an almost palpable sense of a Breton morning. The medieval church at the center of the composition rises from the compact architecture of the village. Monochromatic bands of sky accentuate the surrounding green fields, while the steep slate roofs of dark stone houses reflect the region’s distinctive light. This interplay of contrasts demonstrates Bunker’s interest in studying the effects of light as it strikes various surfaces. Despite the presence of a laundress in the foreground and of two minuscule figures beside the stone wall, the painting is less a narrative interpretation of the setting than a demonstration of the artist’ attention to its singular atmosphere.

Learn more about this painting on the Terra Foundation website.