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Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit

October 21, 2012January 13, 2013

This major exhibition delves into the life and career of African American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937). The son of a former slave, Tanner trained in Philadelphia under American artist Thomas Eakins and went on to achieve international success. A survey of more than 100 works, Modern Spirit includes 12 paintings that have never been shown in a Tanner retrospective, as well as the only two known sculptures that Tanner completed. Also featured is the artist’s famed Resurrection of Lazarus, a career-making canvas on loan from the collection of the Musée d'Orsay that earned Tanner his first international praise in 1897. The painting had never crossed the Atlantic before this exhibition, which concludes its U.S. tour at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Modern Spirit follows Tanner's journey from his upbringing and training in Philadelphia after the Civil War; to Paris, where he joined the expatriate community of artists in the late 19th century, showing frequently at the Paris Salon and mentoring other African American artists; to his success at the highest levels of the international art world at the turn of the 20th century. The story continues with Tanner's unique contributions in aid of servicemen during World War I through the Red Cross in France; his Modernist invigoration of religious painting deeply rooted in his own faith; and his depictions of the Holy Land and North Africa. The exhibition also presents the first scientific and technical analysis of Tanner's artistic materials and methods.

Organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, the Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit exhibition was made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


For more information regarding this event:

Phone: (713) 639-7300 Website: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
5601 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005
United States
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