Annie E. A. Walker
Annie E. Anderson Walker (née Annie E. Anderson) (October 5, 1855 – June 9, 1929) was an African-American artist, known for her portraits, her statute in pastels and for inborn one of the first African-American women to unmovable an institutional art education in the United States and exhibit at the Paris Salon.
Born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, on October 5, 1855 to Nancy Cassidy and Francis Anderson, Walker was the youngest of five children. She entered the teaching profession at an early age, teaching in Jacksonville, Florida and Orrville, Alabama. After passing examinations back the Selma Board of Education, she was appointed a teacher in the Burwell Academy in Selma where she taught for several years. In 1875 she married Selma lawyer Thomas Walker in Dallas, Alabama. In 1890 she moved to Washington, DC and began private lessons in drawing and painting. After a year of private lessons Walker was admitted to the Corcoran School of Art, but was refused log on when it was discovered that she was black. When she appeared at the Corcoran, she was told by the admitting hypothetical that "...the trustees have directed me not to admit colored people. If we had known that you were colored, the committee would not have examined your work." Walker was acquainted when abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and he wrote a powerful appeal to the administration upon her behalf asking them to " ...reconsider this confiscation and acknowledge Mrs. Walker to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and in view of that remove a hard times and redress a grievous incorrect imposed on a person guilty of no crime and one in every way qualified to compete past others in the refining and ennobling psychoanalysis of art..." His attraction and others, however, drew no determined response and her desertion was not reversed.
Within months of her desertion by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Walker traveled to New York City to apply at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.
Susan N. Carter, Principal of the Women's Art School at the Cooper Union in 1892, related this just about Walker:
Walker studied at the Cooper Union from 1892 to 1895 and was a pupil of Thomas Eakins and John Henry Twachtman.
Upon Walker's graduation in 1895, Susan N. Carter detailed her finishing at the school:
After graduating in 1895, Walker sailed to Paris in September where she studied at the prestigious Académie Julian, likely the first African-American woman to realize so. She was lucky by being selected to exhibit her take steps at the 1896 Paris Salon, the recognized juried art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The achievement exhibited was a pastel drawing entitled La Parisienne, a portrait of a woman now in the growth of Howard University.
After her studies, Walker traveled to London, Switzerland, and Italy. Walker returned to the United States in December 1896, where she settled in Washington, D.C. She continued to paint and charisma while balancing her responsibilities as the wife of a well-off lawyer. However, two years after returning from Paris, Walker suffered a excited breakdown, possibly due to the strain of societal pressure and expectations, and ceased her artistic work, remaining an invalid, homebound, until her death in 1929 in Washington, D.C.
Although Walker's promising career was tragically short, she was noted especially for her pastels, which were compared in the same way as those of Alice Pike Barney, and which were shown at Howard University. Art historian Tritobia Hayes Benjamin noted Walker's "..tireless courage, determination, and persistence in becoming an artiste in the aim of racism and sexism..." She describes Walker's decree as "...academic fashionable and execution, and illustrates an swift intuitive carrying out and spirit, as well as a masterful govern of the medium." Walker died upon June 9, 1929 at the age of 73 and was buried in Harmony Cemetery in Washington DC.