VMFA Acquires Painting by First African-American Artist to Win Acclaim

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RICHMOND, VA.- The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has acquired a painting by Edward Mitchell Bannister (1828-1901), the first black artist to receive widespread acclaim in the United States. The 1885 painting, “Moonlight Marine” is an oil on canvas. Dr. Sylvia Yount, VMFA’s Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art, calls it “an exceptional example of the painter’s bolder, mature style.” Painting and the sea form the twin poles of Bannister’s life, Yount says. In his younger days, he focused on pastoral landscapes, but his later marine subjects – views of the Atlantic and the Rhode Island coastline