The London painter Arthur Hacker was the son of a line engraver called Edward Hacker. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools from 1876, and under Leon Bonnat in Paris 1880-81. There, among his fellow students was Stanhope Forbes, later chief of the Newlyn School. Like Stanhope Forbes, Hacker became interested in realism, and they both were founders of the New English Art Club. However, Hacker changed his style several times - after the plein air work of the early 1880s, he added a French academic style in the late 1880s, and then a variety of Pre-Raphaelite, symbolist, poetic-rustic, and simple genre figures. Finally, after the turn of the century, he turned to atmospheric studies of London streets. He also visited Spain, Gibralter and Tangiers with Solomon Solomon around 1881, and thereafter made further visits to North Africa and produced various works based on these more exotic locations. Finally, he was a portraitist, painting various of his peers, and notably Dyson Perrins, after whom the Oxford organic chemistry laboratory is named.
Hacker exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1878, and his picture The Annunciation was bought under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest in 1892. He was elected ARA in 1894, and became a full RA in 1910. His Diploma Picture was one of his London paintings - A Wet Night in Piccadilly Circus.
Hacker's wife Lilian Hacker also painted, and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1909-24.
Hacker's paintings are in many public collections. Among his mythological pictures, The Syrinx is at Manchester, and uses a young, slightly sullen-mouthed model who appears in various other of his pictures, including the Annunciation (Tate Gallery), By the Waters of Babylon (Rochdale Art Gallery) and the excellent Temptation of Sir Percival (Leeds City Art Gallery). Other works include The Cloud and the moralistic The Cloister or the World, both at Bradford, and a rather Symbolist Pelagia and Phillammon at the Walker Art Gallery.