Robert Scott Duncanson
Fayette, New York, 1821 – Detroit 1872
Oil on canvas
17.8 x 25.7 cm
Gift of Miss C. Burroughs, inv. 1943.781
Quebec and Canadian Art
Duncanson is the first Afro-American painter to achieve international recognition. He was also the first to make what is called the Grand Tour. His mother was either Black or mulatto; his father, a Canadian of Scotch descent. Duncanson went with them to the United States but during the American Civil War returned to Canada, where he stayed from the summer of 1863 to the fall of 1865. His famous painting The Land of the Lotus Eaters was photographed by William Notman for his book Photographic Selections (1863) and exhibited by the Art Association of Montreal in 1864. The Canadian scenery the artist painted most particularly was the Eastern Townships, the area around Quebec City and the Ottawa Valley. His stay influenced some of the first Canadian-born landscape painters, like Allan Edson, who had him as a teacher.