Loch Long

Robert Seldon Duncanson (American, 1821-1872)

Currently on View in K213
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This scene is typical of Hudson River School painting in its inclusion of small figures, misty mountains, sun-dappled shore, and expansive vista.

Duncanson produced a series of Scottish landscapes stimulated by his travels and the literature of Sir Walter Scott.

Duncanson’s Romanticized Scottish Landscapes

Robert Duncanson, the son of an emancipated slave, was born a “freeman of color” to a Scottish Canadian father and mulatto mother in upstate New York. He worked as a house painter and carpenter, but in 1840, he embarked on an artistic career and moved to Cincinnati. Duncanson was an itinerant painter until Nicholas Longworth, a wealthy Cincinnati landowner, commissioned him to paint murals at his personal residence, now the Taft Museum. The eight commissioned murals were large-scale landscapes with elaborate frames. Duncanson traveled to England and Europe several times. In England, he found favor with a group of abolitionist supporters. He also traveled to Scotland, exhibiting his work and making sketches that he used in later compositions. Upon his return from Scotland in 1867, Duncanson began a series of Scottish landscapes inspired by the writings of Sir Walter Scott. These picturesque views are considered to be the culmination of Duncanson’s career.

Duncanson painted Loch Long in 1867, shortly after he returned to America. His intention was to create a vision of the paradise denied him in his own country. In Loch Long, the panoramic landscape is illuminated in a serene light that reflects off the shimmering surface of the lake. The misty veil hovering in the background adds a dramatic element to this picturesque view.

Ketner, Joseph D. The Emergence of the African American Artist: Robert S. Duncanson 1821-1872. Saint Louis: University of Missouri Press, 1994.

Private Collection; Visalia, Butterfields and Butterfields, San Francisco, Californial; purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of aRt in 1997.

Object Information

Robert Seldon Duncanson (American, 1821-1872)
creation date
oil on canvas
19-1/2 x 33-11/16 in.
25-7/8 x 39-5/8 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
signed and dated L.R.: Duncanson 1867
accession number
credit line
Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art
Public Domain
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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