Swann Galleries of New York's upcoming art auction of October 6 boasts a number of treasures, including this scarce and large example of important 19th-century painter Robert S. Duncanson's mid-career landscapes.
This striking work is a culmination of the many romantic motifs Duncanson - who was self-taught - learned to employ in his landscapes. By the 1850s, he had received extensive patronage and commercial success.
In 1853, the artist embarked on a "Grand Tour" with fellow Cincinnati, US, artist William Sonntag through Europe. This two year trip was the first such pilgrimage for an African-American artist.
Sights including the classical ruins of Italy influenced Duncanson, along with the paintings of Gainsborough and Turner, whose landscapes he studied on his first stop in England.
According to D. Ketner, curator-in-residence at Emerson College, figures relaxing in an idyllic, park-like landscape, the small waterfall and stream, the classical buildings in the background, and the billowing clouds are all devices Duncanson used from this period.
Ketner reviewed the work prior to the sale to ensure its quality. The piece is estimated at $60,000-90,000.