Edward Mitchell Bannister
Oil on canvas
20.3 x 35.3 cm
Purchased with funds provided by Sheldon and Marjorie Fountain, 2006
Edward Bannister was a pioneer African Canadian artist and the first to win a national art prize in the United States (in 1876 he won the first place bronze medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition). An attempt by the exhibition jury to deny Bannister the top prize because of his race was overcome when other participating artists threatened to withdraw and publicly condemn the competition if his prize was revoked.
Born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, in 1828, Bannister moved to Boston in 1848. He was a painter of nature scenes and marine landscapes in a style inspired by the French Barbizon School (known for its simplified depiction of pastoral life and thick impastos). He studied briefly at Boston's Lowell Institute and also took photography classes in Boston and New York. He died in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1901.