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Robert Scott Duncanson


Alias: Robert S. Duncanson


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(b New York, 1821; d Detroit, Michigan, 1872) African-American Painter. Robert Scott Duncanson was born in the state of New York, but spent most of his childhood in Canada with his Scottish father. Duncanson later relocated, joining his mother in Cincinnati. The artist holds an important position in American art as the first African-American artist to achieve national and international recognition. His contemporaries recognized him as the leading landscapist west of the Allegheny Mountains. In 1863, due to the Civil War, Duncanson returned to Canada in self-imposed exile and remained there for two years. His extended stay greatly influenced the local artists, for Montreal and the surrounding areas offered Duncanson a vast array of idyllic subject matter.* Always remaining true to his own mandate to paint the landscape which he believed God to have created, Duncanson painted works that echoed the peace and tranquility of an unspoiled and idyllic earthly paradise, particularly interesting in a time of turmoil in the States. The artist returned to Michigan in 1867 and remained there until his death in 1872. (Credit: *Christie’s, New York, Important American Paintings, May 20, 2009, Lot 81)

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Hudson River School (64)

Luminism: American (23)