In Woodland Pool, tiny figures stand in a clearing in a bower, with warm sunlight penetrating the trees and lighting the composition from the rear. In 1867, Robert S. Duncanson returned home from three years abroad to take a studio on Fourth Street. Under the influence of English painters, he retreated from the grandeur and romanticism of his paintings of the mid-1850s, like Western Forest in this gallery, in favor of intimate encounters with nature. Duncanson’s brushwork softened, leaving more to the viewer’s imagination.This painting passed down in the family of its original owner, the Reverend Richard Sutton Rust. Rust was a noted Cincinnati abolitionist, whose home was a gathering place for like-minded citizens including the African American Duncanson. In 1858, the artist painted a portrait of Rust to commemorate his appointment as the first president of Wilberforce College, a school dedicated to the education of African Americans.


  • Title: Woodland Pool
  • Creator: Robert S. Duncanson
  • Date Created: 1868
  • Physical Dimensions: 13 11/16 x 12 13/16 in. (34.7 x 32.5 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Julie Bausch Rust in memory of James Gillespie Rust, Sr.
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: oil on board
  • Accession Number: 2007.71

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