Bannister painted this tender portrait of his wife, Christiana Carteaux Bannister, three years after they married. Blending in with her subdued, elegant surroundings, Carteaux Bannister is presented in a brown dress embellished with a white lace collar and red bow. She emanates both inner confidence and compassion, as the hint of a smile can be detected. Bannister later displayed this portrait on the wall of his studio in Providence. Of Narragansett descent, Carteaux Bannister was the successful owner of beauty salons in Boston and Providence. Her financial support enabled Bannister to focus on his art full-time. He remarked: “I would have made out very poorly had it not been for her, and my greatest successes have come through her, either through her criticisms of my pictures, or the advice she would give me in the matter of placing them in public.”
Artist and Abolitionist
Edward Mitchell Bannister, Portrait of Christiana Carteaux Bannister, c.1860
Oil on panel, 88.9 x 65.7 cm, Collection of RISD Museum, Providence, Gift of the Edward M. Bannister Foundation (2016.38.1).