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Narratives of African American Art and Identity

Edward Mitchell Bannister

Untitled (Landscape with Pond) , c. 1876

Oil on canvas

7.75" x 11.75"


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Untitled

Edward Mitchell Bannister won his first significant recognition when his large landscape Under the Oaks won a first-prize medal at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Bannister had by this time established himself in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island as an accomplished landscape painter. His works were favorably reviewed; Under the Oaks had been sold for a considerable amount of money even before it was hung at the Exposition. Although that work has been lost since the turn of the century, other works from this period survive to give us a sense of Bannister's artistic explorations of these years. Bannister is often described as a Barbizon painter and indeed created many works in that tradition. Under the Oaks was likened by one reviewer to the English painter John Constable's work; another 1876 landscape, Oak Trees (National Museum of American Art), is a meticulously painted static landscape quite unlike this Untitled (Landscape with Pond), which attests to another aspect of his work. A number of works in this style combine a tactile attention to thickly applied paint on canvas with a loose, Impressionistic brushstroke that begins to dissolve the forms. These works often study the resonant effects of light on water, a subject Bannister returns to again and again throughout his career. The cloud-filled sky glowing with color reflects as well the artist's lifelong fascination with the effects of weather and time of day in the New England landscape.   A. L. C.

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