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From his arrival in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1869 until his death there in 1901, Edward Mitchell Bannister (1828–1901) painted the landscape of southern New England in a style that has often been described as derivative of the French Barbizon school. However, unlike the Barbizon painters, who sought to create pastoral scenes of idyllic peasant life in the French countryside, Bannister frequently depicted farms and other rural locations that evoke the history of Rhode Island chattel slavery. Bannister emigrated from New Brunswick, Canada, to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1850, and his life is exemplary of many of the challenges and achievements that creative African Americans faced and attained during the second half of the nineteenth century.

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