Artworks and Artists
Robert S. Duncanson
Born in Fayette, New York, 1821
Died in Detroit, Michigan, 1872

Robert S. Duncanson

Robert Duncanson was the first recorded African-American landscape artist. After working as an itinerant painter throughout the 1840s, he moved to Cincinnati and established himself professionally, accepting commissions for murals, portraits, and landscapes. During his thirty- year career Duncanson became known as the foremost painter of the Ohio River valley. He also achieved international recognition for his large-scale, epic landscapes inspired by literature, such as Land of the Lotus Eaters (1861), which was purchased for the collection of the king of Sweden. Duncanson fled Cincinnati in 1863 because of the eruption of racial tensions and the American Civil War. He came to Montreal where he stayed briefly (1863-65) before travelling to Europe. In Montreal his paintings were exhibited to critical acclaim. The influence of his style can be seen in the paintings of the Canadians Allan Edson (who was his student), John A. Fraser; and Otto R. Jacobi.