Annie E. A. Walker

Annie E. Anderson Walker (1855–1929) was an African-American artist, known for her portraits and for her work in pastels.


La Parisienne, pastel of 1896, in the collection of Howard University

Born in Flatbush, Brooklyn,[1] Walker taught art in Florida and Alabama in the 1870's before marrying Selma lawyer Thomas Walker in 1890 and moving to Washington, D.C.[2] After having private lessons in art,[1] she initially enrolled at the Corcoran School of Art, but was refused entry when it was discovered that she was black. Walker was acquainted with abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and he wrote a letter to the administration on her behalf asking that she be reconsidered for admission, but they would not change their decision.[2] She went instead to New York City to study; from 1892 to 1895 she was a pupil of Thomas Eakins and John Henry Twachtman at the Cooper Union before traveling to Paris, where she lived from 1896 to 1902.[3][4] In that city she studied at the Académie Julian, likely the first African-American woman so to do.[3] She was honored by being chosen to exhibit her work at the 1896 Paris Salon, the annual juried show of the French Academy. The work exhibited was a pastel drawing entitled La Parisienne, a portrait of a woman now in the collection of Howard University.[5] Walker returned to the United States in late 1896, where she settled in Washington, D.C.[4] Two years after returning from Paris, Walker suffered a nervous breakdown and ceased her artistic work, remaining an invalid, homebound, until her death in 1929 in Washington, D.C.[2] Walker was noted especially for her pastels, which were compared with those of Alice Pike Barney, and which were shown at Howard University.[6] Few of her works were known to exist in 1975.[7]


  • 1896 Annual Paris Salon, Paris France[8]


  1. ^ a b Darlene Clark Hine; Kathleen Thompson (1999). A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America. Broadway Books. pp. 188–. ISBN 978-0-7679-0111-6.
  2. ^ a b c E., Farrington, Lisa (2011). Creating their own image: the history of African-American women artists. Oxford University Press. p. 52. ISBN 9780199767601. OCLC 712600445.
  3. ^ a b "WALKER, Annie E.A. (1855–1929), Painter, pastellist: Benezit Dictionary of Artists – oi". Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/benz/9780199773787.article.b00204462. Retrieved 24 January 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b Andrew J. Cosentino (17 November 1983). The Capital Image: Painters in Washington, 1800–1915. Smithsonian. ISBN 978-0-87474-338-8.
  5. ^ Walker, Annie E. A. (1 January 1896). "La Parisienne". Art Inventories Catalog. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 31 March 2017 – via Library Catalog.
  6. ^ The Crisis. The Crisis Publishing Company, Inc. April 1942. pp. 117–. ISSN 0011-1422.
  7. ^ Encore American & Worldwide News. Tanner Publications Company. 1975.
  8. ^ Fonvielle-Bontemps, Jacqueline (1980). Forever free: art by African-American women 1862-1980. Alexandra, VA: Stephenson, Incorporated. p. 209.