Henry Ossawa Tanner – Artwork & Bio of the American Painter

Henry Ossawa Tanner was an American painter born on 21 June 1859 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Henry became interested in art after seeing an artist painting a landscape while walking with his father. He enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1879, becoming its first African-American student.

After completing his studies, which included lessons from realist painter Thomas Eakins, Tanner opened a photography studio. During this period, he met and earned the patronage of Wesley Clifford and Mrs. Joseph Hartzell, who were responsible for helping him set up exhibitions and touring Europe. Tanner decided to settle in Paris after his studies at the Academie Julian.

While in Paris, Tanner settled on a different subject matter and earned a reputation as a master painter in Europe and America. He started taking trips to Africa in 1910, capturing scenes related to Orientalism. The breakout of the First World War and the tragedy of losing his wife in 1925 affected Tanner’s productivity negatively. However, before he died on 25 May 1937, Tanner still created many masterpieces.

What was Henry Ossawa Tanner Known For?

Henry Tanner was known for painting religious scenes. Tanner shifted from regular genre scenes to religious and biblical representations a few years after settling in Paris. These works became the most renowned of his career, acclaimed for their somber tone and accurate detailing. Tanner primarily used oil paints and a colorful palette.

Who was Henry Ossawa Tanner Influenced By?

Henry Tanner was influenced by Thomas Eakins, Jean-Paul Laurens, and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant. Under Eakins, Tanner changed his subject matter from maritime scenes to animal and figurative scenes. Subsequently, Laurens and Benjamin-Constant – influenced his interest in Symbolism and Impressionism.

What Art Movement was Henry Ossawa Tanner Associated With?

Henry Tanner was associated with the Impressionism and Orientalism art movements.

Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Artwork

Below are some of the artworks of Henry Tanner

All Henry Ossawa Tanner Artwork on Artchive

Artwork Name Year Medium
The Banjo Lesson 1893 Oil on Canvas
The Annunciation 1898 oil
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