Monday, February 25, 2008

Henry O. Tanner

1859-On June 21st Henry Ossawa Tanner is born his father and mother were Benjamin Tucker Tanner (a minister of a Christian church) and Sarah miller Tanner. (former slave)
1872-Tanner decides he would become a painter after seeing a plein air painter in Philadelphia.
1879-Tanner enrolls at Pennsylvania academy of fine arts and studies. Studying under his teacher Thomas Eakins until the year 1882.
1891-On January 4th tanner takes a trip to Europe where he had planned to study in italy but ended up staying in france instead.
Where he enrolled at the Academie Julian in Paris where he studies under Benjamin Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens.

1895-One of Tanners paintings was accepted to the Paris Salon the exhibit made no impression and no impact Tanner himself was not very proud of the work n was glad not many noticed it. Later that year Tanner begins to focus on biblical subjects for paintings
1895 to1937-Tanner made several trips to the middle east and north Africa so he could portray his biblical figures and settinga accurately. During World War I, Tanner worked for the Red Cross Public Information Department, at which time he also painted images from the front lines of the war. On may 25 1937 Tanner died in france.
African American painter who gained international acclaim for his depiction of landscapes and biblical themes. Tanner painted "Nicodemus Visiting Jesus" in 1900 won the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts' Lippincott Prize. That same year he received a medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris he became the first African American to be granted full membership in the National Academy of Design. When the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., exhibited several of his works. This was the first major solo exhibition of a black artist in the United States.
These images are sum of tanner most famous paintings left behind for others to cherish and acknowledge.
Sand Dunes at Sunset, Atlantic City by Henry Ossawa Tanner is in the collection of the White House, and hangs in the Green Room. Acquired during the Clinton administration with funds from the White House Acquisition Trust, it is the first artwork in the White House by an African American.
Sand dunes

This piece is called "The Banjo Lesson". One of his more elaborate paintings this painting can be valued in two very distinct ways formalism and Expressivism it was painted in 1895 before Tanner made his leave to Paris.

This piece is called "Daniel and the lions den". One on Tanner's most historical and well known biblical paintings which he is well known for it depicts Daniel sitting calmy and being protected by god from the savagery of the lions.
Lions den

Tanner is often regarded as a realist painter, focusing on accurate depictions of subjects. While his early works, such as "The Banjo Lesson" were concerned with everyday life as an African American, Tanner's later paintings focused mainly on the religious subjects for which he is now best known. His biblical imsperations came to him after visiting the holy land.
Challenges he faced through his life
Henry O Tannner faced many triumphs and challenges during his life span. Most challenging things he faced was racial discrimination to africans in america these issues forced Tanner to move back to Paris in 1895 after he painted the "Banjo lesson" and won honorable mentions.
Some quotes during these hard times for Tanner
“According to the distorted way things are seen in the States, my blond curly headed little boy would also be a negro.”
“I believe the Negro blood counts, and counts to my advantage - though it has caused me at times a life of great humiliation and sorrow.”

How the world changed Tanner?
Tanner grew tired of the racial discriminations and embraced himself in his artwork. He traveled throughout the world and learned many styles from different teachers this made him a stronger artist and also allowed him to expand his horizons n views of life.
What did you discover?
What I discovered through my study of Henry o tanner was a strong African American painter who transcended the times with his unique style of biblical oil paintings inspiring further generations to come.
Websites used for research