Sen. Roy Blunt, R, Mo., presented a painting to President Joe Biden in the U.S. Capitol following his inauguration Jan. 20. With the help of first lady Jill Biden, Blunt chose an 1859 work by painter Robert Seldon Duncanson, an African American painter based in Cincinnati, Ohio, who gained prominence during the Civil War era. The painting is a loan from the Smithsonian. Blunt said the landscape painting, which looks like “an American utopia,” is made all the more interesting by its historical context. Blunt said it suggested that even as his country was on the verge of the Civil War, Duncanson remained “optimistic” about America.
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