This first full-length biography should help retrieve Duncanson from a century of obscurity. Famous for his picturesque Ohio River landscapes in the 1850s and 1860s, he was the first African American painter to gain international recognition. Duncanson taught himself to paint by copying prints and portraits and sketching from nature while living and working in Cincinnati. From his early years as a humble housepainter, Duncanson overcame prejudice to enter the previously all-white American art mainstream. His dream of an America unconcious of race found expression in romantic landscapes of an exotic paradise. A cogent text, accompanied by more than 130 reproductions of his and other African American artists' works, emphasizes Duncanson's progression as signaling the emergence of African American artists in general. An important contribution to American art history of more than regional interest.-- Russell T. Clement, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut.
Known in the mid-19th century as the best landscape painter in the West, Duncanson fell into obscurity for nearly a century after his death. This biography records his perseverance and accomplishments against great odds as he overcame racial oppression and made his way in the previously all-white art world. Nicely produced, with numerous samples of Duncanson's work, including 20 color plates. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)