Arthur Watson Sparks

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Arthur Watson Sparks (1871–1919) was an American painter.

He was born in Washington, DC to Mary and Frederick Sparks, a federal government clerk. He trained as an architect and also studied art in the evenings at the Corcoran Art School. In 1898 he won a design competition, along with his collaborator J. Elfreth Watkins, chief of buildings for the United States National Museum, for a proposed Hall of American Inventions to be built at the 1900 Paris Expo. Sparks remained in Paris, France for ten years where he studied art at Académie Julian and Ecole des Beaux Arts.

Arthur Hamerschlag, head of Andrew Carnegie's new Carnegie Technical Schools, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hired Sparks as the founding head of the Department of Painting and Illustration, where he taught for eleven years until 1919. That same year he resigned to join the art colony at New Hope, Pennsylvania to be near his friend the painter Edward Redfield. Sparks, however, contracted Spanish flu that August and died in Philadelphia.


  • Chew, Paul A. (1963). Arthur Watson Sparks, American Impressionist : [exhibition] the Westmoreland County Museum of Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, December 7, 1963 through January 21, 1964. Greensburg: Westmoreland County Museum of Art. 
  • Fenton, Edwin (2000). Carnegie Mellon 1900–2000: A Centennial History. Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon University Press. ISBN 0-88748-323-2. 
  • Patricia Lowry (2007). Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Story of Rankin. Retrieved December 27, 2007.

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