Painting By Historic Cincinnati Artist Part Of Biden Inauguration | News
A painting by Cincinnati artist Robert S. Duncanson was selected as the 59th inaugural painting. Duncanson is considered the most famous African American artist of the Civil War.
“Landscape with Rainbow” is an 1859 oil painting on canvas. It was presented to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris shortly after installation during Wednesday’s inauguration on loan from the Smithsonian American Ary Musem.
“Robert S. Duncanson is the first black artist to achieve international recognition in the USA, and that in a period before the Civil War, and quite remarkable and unfortunately quite unusual for a black person or a black person or a person of color”, explained Sarah Ditlinger, Senior Manager Marketing and Strategic Engagement at the Taft Museum of Art.
Duncanson is known in Cincinnati for its eight murals on the walls of the historic Taft House. They were commissioned by Nicholas Longworth, who represented Ohio’s 1st Congressional District, served as the 38th Speaker of the House, and who, according to the Cincinnati Art Museum, recognized and promoted Duncanson’s talent.
Although Duncanson was born in New York, he spent a lot of time in Cincinnati. Ditlinger says the artist is known for his real and imaginary landscapes, inspired by the Hudson River Valley style and international travels “at a time when he wasn’t actually very welcome here in the US, so it’s pretty poignant that his job is to come home to the White House today to dream and create a better future for all of us. “
You can find Duncanson’s work in the Taft Museum of Art and the Cincinnati Art Museum. The Cincinnati Museum Center also has some of his works in its collection. The Taft Museum recognizes his heritage with its annual Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program.
“Today we greet the first person of the colored (and) woman … breaking through the glass ceiling in many different ways, with Kamala Harris elected as Vice President, but also as Dr. (Jill) Biden as First Lady I think the painting symbolizes many of these decisions and I also think for the future of the country, “said Ditlinger.
Robert S. Duncanson’s 59th opening painting, Landscape with a Rainbow, is unveiled. pic.twitter.com/1w5E9mbvGF– # Inaugural59 (@JCCIC) January 20, 2021
Landscape with rainbow
The Smithsonian describes rainbow landscapes as follows:
In this pastoral landscape, a young couple strolls through fertile pastureland to a house at the end of a rainbow. The cattle go home towards the nearby cottage and reinforce the feeling that man lives in harmony with nature. Duncanson’s vision of rural America as Arcadia, a paradisiacal landscape, is a defining feature of his work, a late hope for peace before the start of the civil war.
When Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R) presented the painting to the new President and Vice President on inauguration day, he asked Jill Biden to help select the artwork, and she recommended.
“I think it’s a classic ‘America as Paradise’ painting that painters made back then,” said Blunt. “But for him, a black artist, painting this painting, which resembles an American utopia on the verge of war so much that we would argue about slavery, makes it all even more interesting while he was obviously facing many challenges ) was optimistic about America as early as 1859. “
@ JCCIC Chairman @RoyBlunt presents @POTUS Joe Biden and @FLOTUS Jill Biden with the painting “Landscape with a Rainbow” by Robert S. Duncanson. pic.twitter.com/6m2ZnAm5XG – # Inaugural59 (@JCCIC) January 20, 2021
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