Romanticism and Impressionism in the 19th Century (1825-1875)

Romanticism overlapped with Neoclassicism but had a very different look. Landscape was common subject matter with use of light and dark contrasts to create drama. The surface of the painting was “active” meaning brush strokes could be seen.


  1. Robert Scott Duncanson (1821-1872) Duncanson was internationally acclaimed for his landscape paintings. He painted his first landscape in 1848, after seeing a painting by Thomas Cole, a Hudson River school painter. The Hudson River School style was known for portraying romantic, atmospheric landscapes. 


Land of the Lotus Eaters, 1861


  1. Henry Ossawa Tanner, (1859-1937) Tanner created spiritual and genre scenes in an active brushwork Impressionist style. He was the first Black artist to enroll in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Tanner moved to Paris 1891 where he would spend most of his life. Tanner briefly returned to the US for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. During this time he created African American themed works to portray empathy and honesty with The Banjo Lesson and The Thankful Poor among them. His subject matter shifted to religion when he returned to Paris.  


The Banjo Lesson, 1893 

The Thankful Poor, 1894