Who Is Edward Mitchell Bannister?
Edward Mitchell Bannister (1828 –1901) was a Black Canadian–American Tonalist painter. Like other Tonalists, his style and predominantly pastoral subject matter were drawn from his admiration for Millet and the French Barbizon School.
Although primarily known for his idealised landscapes and seascapes, Bannister also executed portraits, biblical and mythological scenes, and genre scenes. An intellectual autodidact, his tastes in literature were typical of an educated Victorian painter, including Spenser, Virgil, Ruskin and Tennyson, from whose works much of his iconography can be traced. (2)
Walter’s Art Museum explains,
“Bannister, the son of a black immigrant from Barbados and his Scottish-Canadian wife, was born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada. Initially a seaman, he settled in Boston, where he eked out a living as a hairdresser and as a hand-tinter of photographs. With the encouragement of his wife, he turned to painting and for a while shared a studio with Edwin Lord Weeks. His atmospheric landscapes found a ready market, especially in Boston.”(1)
…Bannister painted landscapes with muted colors that recalled the works of the French Barbizon school so popular among New England collectors during the second half of the 19th century. However, in one of his last works, which he painted during a stay in Boston in the late 1890s, Bannister adopted a much more vivid palette.
At the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876, Bannister received a first-place medal. He was the first African-American artist to win a national award, but the judges were surprised by his ethnic background. Bannister resided in Providence, Rhode Island, where he became one of the seven founding members of the Providence Art Club, an institution that still flourishes today. (1)
Click for Enlarged Image:
Walter’s Art Museum in Baltimore, MD
- The Walters Art Museum, Edward Mitchell Bannister: Boston Street Scene (Boston Common), https://art.thewalters.org/detail/4695/boston-street-scene-boston-common/ (accessed 23 Oct 2018).
- Wikipedia contributors, “Edward Mitchell Bannister,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Edward_Mitchell_Bannister&oldid=859819329 (accessed October 23, 2018).
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