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Will Sparks (1862-1937)
Will Sparks was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1862, where he completed his first painting at the age of 12. Sparks trained to be a doctor, but upon finishing his studies chose art instead and enrolled in the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. Further study followed in New York and in Paris at the academies Julian and Colarassi. While in Paris Sparks supported himself as an anatomical illustrator for Louis Pasteur.
Sparks returned to St. Louis and at the 1886 Exposition there met Mark Twain, whose stories of the American West inspired Sparks to move to Denver and ultimately California. In 1891 Sparks opened a studio in San Francisco. Sparks specialized in the historic Spanish colonial ruins of California, and his works often feature the crumbling moonlit adobes and missions. Sparks was also a co-founder of the Del Monte Art Gallery in Monterey with fellow nocturne painter Charles Rollo Peters. Will Sparks died in San Francisco in 1937.
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