The Artist and His Critics

In 1885, Bannister and other Providence Art Club members formed the Ann-Eliza Club, which seems to have functioned both as a forum for discussion of art issues and as a kind of men's club for Providence artists. Stetson and Whitaker were frequent speakers. Bannister, intellectually minded and well-read, participated in these forums. He acted as respondent to a Stetson lecture on the nude in art, and in his own 1886 lecture, "The Artist and His Critics," admonished art critics not to abuse their power and defined the "true artistic spirit" and the qualities the critic should consider in judging works of art. He was particularly harsh to critics of Millet, whom he called the "profoundest, most . . . spiritual artist of our time," and argued that Millet's mission was to "voice . . . the sad, uncomplaining life he saw about him — and  with which he sympathized so deeply."" from Juanita Marie Holland and Kenkeleba House, "Reaching Through the Veil"

The Artist and His Critic