Robert Douglas Hunter was born in Dorchester and attended the Vesper George School of Art in Boston. After graduating in 1949, he continued his education under Henry Hensche (1899-1992) in Provincetown, Massachusetts, as well as with Robert Hale Ives Gammell between 1950 and 1955. Gammell assisted his student in becoming fully steeped in the traditions that have come to characterize the Boston School of painting.
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In 1950 Hunter began a teaching career at the Vesper George School of Art and he also taught at the Worcester Art Museum from 1965 to 1975. He was a member of the Copley Society and the Guild of Boston Artists, serving as President of the latter between 1973 and 1978. His paintings were exhibited widely during his long and distinguished career, and he received numerous awards including a Citation from the Governor of Massachusetts in recognition of his contribution to the education of youth. In 2001 a new naturally-lit gallery at the Cape Museum of Fine Arts in Dennis, Massachusetts was named in his honor.
Private collection, North Palm Beach, Florida