Edward Mitchell Bannister was an oil painter of the American Barbizon school. Born in Canada, he spent his adult life in New England in the United States. There, along with his wife Christiana Carteaux Bannister, he was a prominent member of African-American cultural and political communities, such as the Boston abolition movement. Bannister received national recognition after he won a first prize in painting at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. He was also a founding member of the Providence Art Club and the Rhode Island School of Design.
Bannister's style and predominantly pastoral subject matter reflected his admiration for the French artist Jean-François Millet and the French Barbizon School. A lifelong sailor, he also looked to the Rhode Island seaside for inspiration. Bannister continually experimented, and his artwork displays his Idealist philosophy and his control of color and atmosphere. He began his professional practice as a photographer and portraitist before developing his better-known landscape style.
Later in his life, Bannister's style of landscape painting fell out of favor.