Lake Superior

Robert S. Duncanson American

Not on view

Duncanson was the first African American painter to study abroad and attain international success. Born free in upstate New York, he launched his career as a largely self-taught artist in Cincinnati, Ohio, where abolitionist patrons raised funds to support his training in Europe. By 1861, Duncansonwas hailed in the American press as "the best landscape painter in the West." Self-exiled during theCivil War, he toured his pictures successfully throughout England, Scotland, and Canada, where he helped launch a regional landscape movement. This oil sketch of Lake Superior—the largest freshwater lake in North America—suggests the influence British American painters such as Thomas Cole had on Duncanson’s approach to nature, while also visualizing his continental reputation.

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