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Lake Champlain from Mount Mansfield, Vermont

Lake Champlain from Mount Mansfield, Vermont

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John Williamson

In this scene, two Abenaki men look out over Bitawbágw (Lake Champlain) from Mozodepowadso (Mount Mansfield). John Williamson used the visual language of the “vanishing Indian,” the false narrative perpetuated by white Americans that Indigenous people were disappearing in the wake of U.S. progress. The Abenaki figures’ diminutive size and loneliness in the landscape suggest both their inevitable disappearance and the grandeur of nature. Such representations were common in landscape painting and overlooked the violent treatment of Indigenous people by settlers and the U.S. government. Landscape paintings such as this one helped U.S. Americans visualize a grand, empty landscape ready for agricultural and industrial development. Artists ignored the continuing presence of Indigenous nations, including the Abenaki, in heavily settled areas like New England and persisted in representing them as pre-modern and lonely figures.
John Williamson
(American, b. Scotland, 1826 - 1885)
Lake Champlain from Mount Mansfield, Vermont
ca. 1870
Oil on canvas
6 1/4 x 14 3/4 in. image
Gift of Joan B. Mirviss and Robert Levine
Accession No.
United States


Private Collection (Vermont); Margaret J Covington Collection (Redlands, CA); Wayne Covington (Tuscon, AZ); Clarke Galleries Inc. (Stowe, VT); ca. 2000, sold by Debra Force Fine Art (New York, NUY) to Joan B. Mirviss and Robert J. Levine (New York, NY); 2019, gifted to Chazen Museum of Art

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