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Valley Pasture

1857 Robert S. Duncanson Born: New York 1821 Died: Detroit, Michigan 1872 oil on canvas 32 1/4 x 48 in. (81.9 x 121.9 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Melvin and H. Alan Frank from the Frank Family Collection 1983.104.1 Not currently on view


Gallery Label

A group of Cincinnati abolitionists recognized the talent of African American artist Robert Duncanson, bought his works, and sponsored his trips to Europe. These trips honed the artist's technique and gave him a chance to compare his work with the masters. His pastoral landscapes appear traditional, but may quietly evoke the most divisive issue America faced at mid-century. Tiny figures stand on the far banks of the river, and beyond them lies a dreamlike landscape of mountains and farms. This might represent the promised land of freedom that escaped slaves in the 1850s hoped to reach by swimming across the Ohio River to the free states of the North.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Animal - cattle

Animal - sheep

Figure(s) in exterior - rural

Landscape - lake

Landscape - plain

Landscape - valley

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Robert S. Duncanson

Born: New York 1821 Died: Detroit, Michigan 1872

More works in the collection by
Robert S. Duncanson

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