Henry Ossawa Tanner

Darrel Sewell, Author, Dewey Mosby, With, Rae Alexander Minter, With Rizzoli International Publications $50 (308p) ISBN 978-0-8478-1346-9
The reputation of an important, unjustly neglected American artist is restored in this lavish catalogue of a touring exhibition assembled by Sewell, a curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Mosby, director of the Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University; and Alexander-Minter, of the New-York Historical Society. Son of an African Methodist Episcopal minister, Henry Tanner (1859-1937) trained under Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia, then left his native U.S. in 1891 for Paris; a proud, quiet individualist determined to surmount racism, he would spent most of his life in France, serving as a beacon to the Harlem Renaissance. Tanner's sensitive, naturalistic animal studies, modernized reinterpretations of biblical themes, subdued yet powerful WW I scenes and brooding, mystical oriental pictures had an impact that was ``by no means race-bound''; his continual experimentation with techniques likewise influenced many artists. Tanner's marvelous visionary paintings of the late 1920s and early '30s are full of foreboding of a world on the brink of self-destruction. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
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