I

Narratives of African American Art and Identity

Edward Mitchell Bannister

Untitled (Landscape with Cows) , n.d.

Watercolor on paper

6.75" x 10"


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Untitled

By the third quarter of the nineteenth century, African American painter Edward Mitchell Bannister had become a recognized and successful New England artist. Born in New Brunswick, Canada, Bannister emigrated to Boston as a young man. One of Bannister's earliest artistic influences was his exposure to the French Barbizon painters that were beginning to be exhibited in Boston in the late 1850s. Bucolic scenes of farm animals in tranquil landscapes were a staple in this increasingly popular mode of landscape painting, and Bannister's earliest memories of Canadian farm life no doubt added to the nostalgic attraction of such scenes for him.

By the 1880s Bannister was successful enough to purchase a small sailboat. He spent summers sailing along the Narragansett Bay, creating the sketches and watercolors that provided the inspiration for the oil paintings he produced in his studio. Along with these sketches and studies, Bannister created many signed drawings and watercolors as finished works similar to the Driskell Collection's untitled landscape with cows.  A. L. C.

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