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Over the years, Mount’s depiction of African Americans underwent an evolution, becoming more sensitive and less prone to the stereotypical depictions he produced in earlier paintings, such as Rustic Dance After a Sleigh Ride (1830). The Banjo Player was a major work, one of the largest portraits Mount completed, and was commissioned by William Schaus for the firm of Goupil & Company. There has been some speculation on the identity of the sitter, who may have been George Freeman, a worker for John Brewster. In his diary, Mount mentions that “I painted the Banjo player in eight days (16 sittings), two sittings a day.”

Details

  • Title: The Banjo Player
  • Creator: William Sidney Mount
  • Date Created: 1856
  • Location: Stony Brook, Long Island, New York, United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 37 3/4"h x 28 3/4"w
  • Provenance: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ward Melville, 1955
  • Subject Keywords: Long Island, Long Island Artist, William Sidney Mount, portrait, George Freeman, African American, banjo, musician, musical instrument, oil painting, American artist, Stony Brook
  • Type: painting
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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