Freedom of Movement, Freedom of Mind: Robert S. Duncanson in Europe and America


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art and Art History


This dissertation studies the international career of Robert Duncanson, a nineteenth-century landscape painter. Duncanson was known for his imaginative and pastoral landscapes, which fused European Romanticism with the naturalism of the Hudson River School. Duncanson was the first recorded African American artist to complete a Grand Tour and he spent several years in London, Rome, Edinburgh, and Canada. His international career has been under-studied and this project analyzes how he moved throughout the milieu of nineteenth-century painters abroad. This dissertation discusses Duncanson’s participation and success within an international creative elite, unsettles how we think about European art and landscape painting, and explores the challenges and freedoms he experienced as a nineteenth-century artist of color.