book cover of The Colored Artist

The Colored Artist

A novel by

In 1881 Charles Ethan Porter, a black artist from Hartford, Connecticut, traveled to Paris to study art, carrying with him an enthusiastic letter of introduction from Samuel Clemens, Hartford's most famous resident. During the next three years Porter wrote letters to Clemens - but Clemens never replied. The famous author turned his back on the talented painter. What happened? In The Colored Artist the author suggests an answer. Based on the life of the late-nineteenth-century artist, the novel is narrated by his student and lifelong friend, German-American artist Gustave Adolph Hoffman, whose own life was often lived in the shadow of his mentor. As one of the few black painters in America at the time, Porter not only had to deal with horrific racism but also the stigma attached to any artist whose specialty was floral and fruit still lifes, largely categorized as "women's art." Porter cherished his friendship with Hoffman and another painter named Samuel Morley Comstock, a charismatic but troubled young friend. The story of these three men's lives, beginning in the 1890s in Manhattan and ending in rural Connecticut, is a tale of artistic temperament silhouetted against the background of the shifting currents of American society and art at the end of the Victorian Age.

Genre: Literary Fiction

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