African American Artists before the Twentieth Century
Edward Mitchell Bannister, Untitled (Moon over a Harbor, Wharf Scene with Full Moon and Masts of Boats, c. 1868). Courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. / Art Resource, NY
A native of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Edward M. Bannister (1826-1901) would eventually settle in Boston, where he went on to become one of the earliest African American painters to receive national attention for his work. At first a portraitist as well, Bannister eventually became known primarily for his landscape, and especially his seaside, scenes. The untitled painting known as "Moon over a Harbor, Wharf Scene with Full Moon and Masts of Boats" (c. 1868) is typical of his work, showing the influence of the Barbizon School of French landscape painting, which held that nature ought to be painted in the presence of nature, and not replicated from memory in a studio. The soft moonlight over silver water and a shifting, indistinct landscape are typical of this style.