August W. Dunbier Augustus W. Dunbier was a prolific oil painter and a long time resident (1915 to 1977) of Omaha, Nebraska, where he became well-established as a portrait painter and private teacher. He was one of early Nebraska's most successful and influential artists. Dunbier's career was one of the longest, uninterrupted art careers of any Nebraska painter and he was an important teacher to his peers and the next generation of Nebraska artists. One can still see the influences of Augustus Dunbier in the work of many Nebraska painters today.

His training was at the Dusseldorf Academy in Germany where he learned to paint in the "dark manner" of the old masters. During his developing years, Impressionism was fast becoming the "advanced" style and Dunbier's natural love of color moved him to adopt the Impressionist manner. Upon returning to America, Dunbier spent some time painting with other "Nebraska artists", Robert Henri and Robert Spencer. Spencer is generally recognized as a technically orthodox impressionist painter but Henri is known more for the vigorous realism of the Ashcan School. These artists seem to have reinforced Dunbier's fear of the tyranny of style and helped him determine to go his own way.

While Dunbier made his living primarily as a portrait painter, his favorite subject was landscape. While studying at the Chicago Art Institute, Dunbier met Walter Ufer who persuaded Gus to join him in Taos in the summer of 1921. Eventually Dunbier became friends with all the Taos artists especially Ufer and E.I. Couse. The Southwest landscape impressed Dunbier strongly and he returned there seasonally for the rest of his life.

As the years passed, Dunbier visited and revisited just about every corner of North America, painting the mountains of California, New Mexico, Colorado, the desert of Arizona, harbors and mountains on both coasts, and landscapes in the Midwest, Texas, and Pacific Northwest.

Known as a colorist, Dunbier did paintings characterized by assertive, contrasting colors and bold brushwork. His landscapes were both realistic and capturing of intangibles such as season, temperature, time of day, atmospheric light, and impending weather. Dunbier completed most of these landscapes "en plein air," entirely out-of-doors, taking no more than several hours for each work.

Following are words of this artist, a man totally committed to creating beauty in his landscapes, still lifes, and portraits.

1888Born on January 1 in Osceola, Polk County, Nebraska.
1898Visits Trans-Mississippi Exhibition in Omaha. Sees "life-changing" first art exhibit
1903Family moves to Germany.
1907Passes Entrance Exams Royal Academy of Fine Art, Dusseldorf.
1911Wins Academy First Prize - Stained Glass Design.
1914Completes 7th year at Dusseldorf Academy. World War I begins.
1915Returns to United States.
1916First studio in Omaha.
1917Builds studio in Saginaw, Michigan on family property of Stuves.
1918Joins U.S. Army Camouflage Corps, Chevy Chase, Maryland.
1919Discharged from Co. A, 97th Engineers. Occupies second studio in Omaha.
1920Paints in New Hope, Pennsylvania with Rogert Spencer.
1921Paints in New York with Robert Henri, George Luks, and John Sloan.
1921-1922Studies at the Chicago Art Institute where he meets Walter Ufer.
1921-1927Annual visits to Taos. Paints with Couse, Ufer, Sharp, Gaspard, and Fechin.
1923Nominated to membership in Salmagundi Club, New York by Ufer and Couse. First mentioned in Who's Who in American Art.
1924Third studio in Omaha. Visits New York and J. Sloan, E.I. Couse, and G. Bellows.
1925Exhibits portraite of "Edith," Pennsylvania Academy in Philadelphia. Voted Nebraska's Outstanding Artist.
1925Enters first Group Exhibition at Salmagundi Club; New York, New York.
1925First paints in Corpus Christi, Texas.
1926Divorce from Augusta Mengedodt
1927Midwest Group Exhibition at Kansas City (MO) Art Institute.
1928Returns to Omaha; sets up fourth studio. Painting trips to Alaska, Texas, and California.
1928San Antonio Group Art Exhibition at the San Antonio (TX) Art Club.
1930First painting trip to Arizona. Returns to Alaska and Pacific Northwest.
1930-1939Group Exhibition at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.
1931California: Paints with Armin Hansen and Christian Vaon Schneidau.
1932Marries Lou Ekstrom in Pasadena and paints for three months in California.
1934Son Roger is born.
1934First visit to Mexico. He headed to Mexico as soon as he heard that the Pan-American Highway had been completed to Mexico City.
1935Fifth studio established in Omaha; in the back of his home.
1935-1940WPA-Writers Program.
1936-1950Exhibits and Jurors Six States Midwest Exhibition.
1937-1970Numerous trips to Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Mexico.
1955-1956Spends a year painting in Europe.
1956-1971Annual winter trips to Arizona.
1959 & 1962Returns to Europe.
1967Nebraska Centennial Group Exhibition in Lincoln, Nebraska.
1962 & 1964Painting trips to Gloucester, Massachusetts with Emil Gruppe.
1976Last entry in Who's Who in American Art.
1977Dies in Omaha, Nebraska. Buried in West Lawn Cemetery.
1985Listed in publication: Artists of the American West.
1986Listed in publication: Mantle Fielding Dictionary.
1990Listed in publication: Art Across America (Volume 3).
1994Retrospective Solo Exhibition at Museum of Nebraska Art; Kearney, Nebraska.
1995Southwest Artists Group Exhibition at the Phippen Museum in Prescott, Arizona.
1999Solo Exhibition at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California.
2000Exhibition at the Van Vechten-Lineberry Taos Art Museum; Taos, New Mexico.

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