Niles Spencer

(1893-1952)

Niles Spencer was educated at the Ogunquit School in 1913, then at the Rhode Island School of Design from 1913-15 and the following year at the Art Students League where he studied with Bellows and Henri. He also traveled abroad to study in France and Italy in 1921 to '22. Spencer worked in the Precisionist manner and painted interiors, still lifes, urban views and farm scenes. He began to concentrate more on urban, industrial themes in the '30s. However, by the 1940s, Spencer became more abstract, gradually eliminating any special references. He was quite influenced by the European Cubists Braque and Gris. His earlier work was based on winter scenes of New England seacoast towns, emphasizing the underlying structure of objects and nature. Later, his work depicted NYC factories, warehouses and bridges with geometric forms and constructed color harmony which remained muted and somber. Spencer's work was purchased by several prestigious institutions and in 1942 he received the Panama-Pacific award from the Museum of Modern Art. He died in 1952.