The emergence of the African-American artist: Robert S. Duncanson, 1821-1872

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9780826208804: The emergence of the African-American artist: Robert S. Duncanson, 1821-1872
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Known in the mid-19th century as the best landscape painter in the West, paricularly for his pictures of the Ohio River, the African-American Robert S. Duncanson fell into obscurity for almost a century after his death. This illustrated biography aims to restore the artist to his place in the history of American art. Ketner treats Duncanson and his art within the context of his own times, as well as within the tradition of former, current and subsequent 19th-century African-American artists.

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This first full-length biography should help retrieve Duncanson from a century of obscurity. Famous for his picturesque Ohio River landscapes in the 1850s and 1860s, he was the first African American painter to gain international recognition. Duncanson taught himself to paint by copying prints and portraits and sketching from nature while living and working in Cincinnati. From his early years as a humble housepainter, Duncanson overcame prejudice to enter the previously all-white American art mainstream. His dream of an America unconcious of race found expression in romantic landscapes of an exotic paradise. A cogent text, accompanied by more than 130 reproductions of his and other African American artists' works, emphasizes Duncanson's progression as signaling the emergence of African American artists in general. An important contribution to American art history of more than regional interest.
- Russell T. Clement, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review:

Known in the mid-nineteenth century as the best landscape painter in the West, African-American artist Robert S. Duncanson (1821-1872) fell into obscurity for nearly a century after his death. Now available in paperback for the first time is the acclaimed biography of Duncanson in which Koseph Ketner restores the artist to his place in the history of American art. 20 color and 114 b&w illustrations grace the 248 pages of this fascinating volume, a highly recommended addition to any serious African-American history collection, not to mention a "must have" addition to all American art history shelves. -- Midwest Book Review

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Ketner, Joseph D
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