By Rebecca Pikus

Painter Donald Spencer was born into an artistically gifted family, who were also master tradesmen and excellent athletes.  Spencer is yet another great artist who has ultimately found his way to the Palm Springs art scene via several journeys — from Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended Ohio Wesleyan University, to New York City, to Philadelphia, back to NYC and New Jersey, and eventually to Palm Springs, CA.  While at OWU, he studied classic art, but found himself drawn to abstract art.  In 1968, he was invited to study painting in NYC under Museum sponsorship at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC.

As a 21 year old artist just arriving on the avant grade art scene in NYC, Spencer was fortunate enough to have many prominent art figures visit his studio:  Helen Frankenthaler, Richard Artscwager, Robert Morris, Dan Flavin, art author & dealer Richard Bellamy, Gary Bower, and the Dean of NYU Graduate Art Dept. Jerome Hausman.  He started to develop an affinity for the works of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham.  Shortly before Spencer was slated to serve in the Vietnam War, he was offered to participate in an off-campus arts apprenticeship program with the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA).  His teaching job was to assist the new director, Richard Wengenroth, to establish and run the New York Fine Arts Program.   What followed were more associations with sculptor Joel Shapiro and friend Joel Fisher, whose works were later included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art.

In 1968, he exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art.  In 1969-1973, he was an administrator and instructor in the New York City Fine Arts Program.  Spencer went on over the years to have One-Man Shows in Soho, NYC, Marion Locks Gallery in Philadelphia, & Langhorne Art Gallery in Pa.  He then was appointed Administrator of the Rockefeller Panel Study and Report on the Importance of the Arts to American Education.  From 1982-2007 his career shifted to building and operating cultural Foundations, and later forming Spencer & Co., an international business development consulting firm.  In 2007, he came full circle to revisit his first “Grid Series” and with advanced technical experiments his “Reconciliation Series.”  His brilliant use of color and energy within the confines of a canvas can be seen in his painting:  “Labyrinth” currently on exhibit at Rebecca Fine Art Gallery. It has become a showstopper!


All roads eventually led Donald Spencer to Palm Springs, Ca. where he continues to be amazingly successful and prolific in his art.  He is an accomplished Painter, Photographer, Printmaker, Scholar, Teacher, Consultant, and avid Golfer, and continues to produce magnificent artworks in his Studio in Rancho Mirage, Ca.  His life’s work and achievements couldn’t be richer!

Donald Spencer, “Visually Speaking – Color & Light” Exhibit curated by Joe Novak, at REBECCA FINE ART GALLERY, 68895 Perez Rd, #7, Cathedral City, Ca (760) 534-5888 – – Gallery Open Wed-Sat, 11am-4pm or By Appointment.

  • "Fliers and Swimmers"

  • "Labyrinth"

  • "Quantum"

  • "Red and Gold Grid"