Eustis Estate

Woman Reading Under a Tree

Edward Mitchell Bannister (c. 1828–1901)
Probably Rhode Island, 1880–85
Oil on canvas
14 3/8 x 18 3/8 in.
Museum purchase

Edward Mitchell Bannister, Gustine L. Hurd, c. 1880, Albumen silver print, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Sandra and Jacob Terner

Born in Canada, Edward Mitchell Bannister was one of the few black artists to be widely recognized in the United States before 1900. Arriving to accept a prize at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, he was refused entry, but finally received the medal after fellow exhibitors protested. Bannister taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and painted local scenery using techniques of the French Barbizon School, which prioritized nature’s ordinary beauties over iconic views such as Benjamin Champney’s Mount Chocorua in this gallery. Here, a woman reads while breezes flutter the leaves and grasses.

Click here to learn more.