Born in 1821 to a Scottish Canadian father and an African American mother, Robert S. Duncanson is widely considered to be the first black artist to become world-famous. He began as a house painter and, from there, moved on to portraits and landscapes. A self-taught artist influenced by the Hudson River School of painters, Duncanson traveled throughout North America and Europe to hone his craft. By the 1860s, the press had dubbed him the "best landscape painter in the West." This was high praise given the fierce racial prejudice of the time. Unfortunately, mental health problems cut Duncanson's career and life short, but readers will still be inspired by this tremendously talented individual.
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