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Born in Washington, D. C., Arthur Prince Spear trained in New York at the Art Students League, in Paris at the Académie Julian, and at George Washington University. He is one of the few artists in this exhibition who did not study in Boston.
Spear arrived in Boston in 1907, and from 1912 to 1935 painted at the Fenway Studios. His pastels, like the one in this exhibition, caught the imagination of the critics: A 1924 review from The Boston Evening Traveler is typical.
Newton artists William Paxton and Leslie Thompson also had studios at Fenway, and the three became close friends. They spent time together at Spear's summer home in Friendship, Maine, where they painted and fished together. In retirement Spear moved to Newton and lived at 59 Wyman Street in Waban.