Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An Influential African-American Painter Remembered

If you missed Curator of African-American History Phil Lapsansky’s op-ed piece in the Inquirer last month, you may not know the extent of the influence of Robert Douglass, Jr., whose painting of Washington crossing the Delaware hung from Independence Hall for the Washington centennial celebration in 1832. Although most of his work has been lost to history, in his lifetime Douglass was not only a prominent citizen but an internationally recognized artist whose work was exhibited at the National Gallery in London as well as at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Not only a painter and lithographer, Douglass became Philadelphia’s first African American photographer. His influence is likely to have extended both to Henry Ossawa Tanner—the prominent Philadelphia African-American artist whose work is currently on exhibition at the Academy—and Emanuel Luetze, painter of the much-loved image of Washington’s crossing. Read more about Robert Douglass.

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