Known for small scale, modernist urban views of New York City, he depicted the city as a jumble of architecture in varying sombre colors in a mood reminiscent of 19th century Romanticism. He had a highly original technique, which was covering a drawing with small dabs of paint and pushing spots of warm and cool color over one another, which dried into a kind of low relief. It took him about a decade, from 1929 to 1939, to arrive at this style and method that seemed right for him. He decided to paint what he saw without consciousness as to style or composition and with spiritual commitment, devoting himself to divinity in nature, separated from the modern world. By the 1960s, he was doing horizontal work in brighter hues that gave the viewer the impression of being swept along a street or urban path.
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Richard Parkes Bonington was born in the town of Arnold, 4 miles from Nottingham in England. His father was successively a gaoler, a drawing master and lace-maker, and his mother a teacher. Bonington learned watercolour painting from his father and exhibited paintings at the Liverpool Academy at age 11. In 1817, Bonington's family moved to Calais, France where his father had set up a lace factory. At this time, Bonington started taking lessons from the painter François Louis Thomas Francia, who trained him in English watercolour painting. In 1818, the family moved to Paris to open a lace retail outlet. It was Paris where he first met Eugène Delacroix, who he became friends with. He worked for a time producing copies of Dutch and Flemish landscapes in the Louvre. In 1820, he started attending the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under Antoine-Jean, Baron Gros. It was around this time that Bonington started going on sketching tours in the suburbs of Paris and the surrounding countryside. His first paintings were exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1822. He also began to work in lithography, illustrating Baron Taylor’s "Voyages pittoresques dans l'ancienne France" and his own architectural series Restes et Fragmens". In 1824, he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon along with John Constable and Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding. Bonington died of tuberculosis on 23 September 1828 at 29 Tottenham Street in London, only 25 years old.