Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- This is a landscape painting of the Laurentian Mountains in Canada, near the province of Québec.
- Robert Seldon Duncanson was a landscape painter. He was inspired by the artists of the Hudson River School.
- Duncanson was the first African American artist to be internationally known. His work was respected and praised during his lifetime. Art collectors bought his paintings and commissioned (hired) him to paint for them.
- Duncanson was part of a network of free Black artists in Cincinnati, Ohio. The city was a center for artistic expression and people against slavery.
- During the American Civil War, Duncanson tried to escape racism by moving to Canada for a short time. He created this painting while he was living there.
This landscape painting depicts a lake surrounded by tree-covered mountains. This scene is located in the Laurentian Mountains, just north of the Saint Lawrence River in Canada. Robert Seldon Duncanson was a landscape painter who was inspired by the painters of the Hudson River School. These artists painted landscapes in the mountains of New York State. They created detailed paintings that celebrate America’s natural beauty.
Duncanson was the first African American artist to become internationally famous. He was born free, but he lived most of his life in Ohio during slavery. He was part of a network of free Black artists in Cincinnati. The city was a center for art and abolitionist (anti slavery) activity. Duncanson had a successful art career in Cincinnati. Art collectors bought his work and commissioned him to paint for them. These collectors were often white abolitionists. They supported Black artists as a statement against slavery.
When the Civil War began, Duncanson tried to escape racism by going to Canada. He painted A View in the Laurentian Mountains, near Québec during his time there. He exhibited his work in Montreal and inspired a younger generation of Canadian artists to create landscape paintings.
I have no color on the brain. All I have on the brain is paint.
Robert Seldon Duncanson
Resources for Teachers
- Read an article about Duncanson’s life and legacy.
- Read an article about Canada’s reaction to the American Civil War.
- Watch a video about another painting by this artist.
- Read an article about the artist’s connection to the Hudson River School.
Resources for Students