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Everett Spruce


A native of Arkansas, Everett Spruce spent his youth working on his family farm and exploring the outdoors. As he remembers, “[I] discovered the nests of birds, homes of wild animals, strange trees, dramatic storms, swollen streams. So, very early, [I] felt an intimacy with nature that has influenced whatever I have said or wanted to say in painting.” Such experiences inform his numerous representations of animals, including Turkey. Spruce employs a coarse expressionistic brushwork and a moody palette to depict the fowl wandering in its pen.

The fantastical quality of Spruce’s work led to significant critical attention in the 1940s, when Surrealist themes were pervasive in American art. Although Spruce achieved notoriety for his Expressionist style, he was often identified with Regionalism early in his career. In 1925, he left Arkansas for Dallas to study at the Dallas Art Institute. He began working at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in 1931, where he became acquainted with a younger generation of Texas painters. He became one of the most prestigious artists in Texas, and, as a teacher, he introduced a younger generation of artists to modernism.

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