Monday, March 4, 2024


First 19th-Century Works by African American Artists to Join the Museum’s Collection



The Worcester Art Museum Acquires Paintings by Edward Mitchell Bannister and Charles Ethan Porter


The Worcester Art Museum has announced the acquisition of three paintings by artists Edward Mitchell Bannister and Charles Ethan Porter. Bannister’s The Hay Gatherers (about 1893) and Porter’s Still Life with Apples and Grapes (before 1900) and Carnations (1887) are now the earliest known paintings by African American artists in the Museum’s collection, expanding its scope in an important direction as the Museum seeks to represent a more diverse view of the history of art.


Bannister and Porter were both natives to New England and both achieved professional success and were internationally recognized for their works. Bannister’s career was characterized by success beyond what had previously been achieved by any Black artist in the United States. His work, The Hay Gatherers, is currently on view at the Museum in the exhibition Frontiers of Impressionism through June 25 and will be featured alongside Porter’s paintings following a comprehensive reimagining of the early American galleries in Spring 2024.


“Acquiring these artworks by Edward Mitchell Bannister and Charles Ethan Porter allows the Museum to tell a more inclusive story about North American art and culture,” said Matthias Waschek, the Jean and Myles McDonough Director of the Worcester Art Museum. “As a global museum with strong local roots, these important acquisitions allow changes to the canon on an international stage.”


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