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Henry Ossawa Tanner

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LIVING
December 13, 1990 | By Patricia Stewart, Special to The Inquirer
In January, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will open a retrospective of work by Henry Ossawa Tanner, a preacher's son from Pittsburgh who studied with Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and went on to become an international success story. He was a member of the National Academy of Design. His paintings were purchased not only by American institutions but by the French government for the Musee du Luxembourg. He was a Salon medalist and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 1991 | By Roy H. Campbell, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Museum of Art was the first museum in the United States to purchase a painting by Henry Ossawa Tanner. So it is fitting that this weekend the museum will open the largest exhibit ever mounted of works by this talented but under-recognized black artist. It was in 1899 that the museum, then known as the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, purchased Tanner's dramatic Annunciation for the W.P. Wilstach collection, bringing the work to the city where Tanner was raised and where his father, the Rev. Benjamin Tucker Tanner, was a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 9, 2012 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Culture Writer
Attendance for the opening weekend of "Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit" at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was the highest recorded since the academy started tracking such figures a few years ago, according to a spokeswoman. Officials said 3,239 people visited the Tanner show, the first retrospective here in two decades to cover the painter's career, from the Jan. 27 opening preview through Sunday Jan. 29. Opening-weekend attendance has been tracked only since 2008's Cecilia Beaux exhibition, which drew 2,094 visitors.
LIVING
October 30, 1996 | By Edward J. Sozanski, INQUIRER ART CRITIC
A little more than a century ago, 31-year-old Henry Ossawa Tanner, an African American painter who grew up in Philadelphia and began his career there, sailed from New York for Europe to further his artistic training. He was bound for Rome, but when he stopped in Paris en route he found the city so congenial he decided to study there instead. That unplanned hiatus lasted 46 years. Tanner had experienced racial prejudice, even cruelty, while attending art school in Philadelphia. The French not only valued artists more than Americans did, they were more racially tolerant.
NEWS
January 22, 2012 | By Edward J. Sozanski, Contributing Art Critic
Henry Ossawa Tanner isn't a giant of American art on the order of Thomas Eakins or Winslow Homer, yet he's a significant figure in this country's art history. That might sound contradictory until one considers that more than a century ago Tanner proved to white America that a black painter could measure up to the highest standards of his profession - even if he had to move to France to do so. Tanner was honored in racially tolerant France as he was not, and never could have been, in his native country.
NEWS
November 3, 1996 | Agence France-Presse / RICHARD ELLIS
President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton unveil "Sand Dunes at Sunset, Atlantic City," circa 1886, by Philadelphia artist Henry Ossawa Tanner. Attending the ceremony Tuesday was Rae Alexander Minter (second from left), a grandniece of the artist. The painting is the first by an African American artist to be included in the permanent White House collection.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 1991 | By Nels Nelson, Daily News Staff Writer
Henry Ossawa Tanner was born in Pittsburgh in 1859, grew up in Philadelphia, studied under Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, settled permanently in Paris in 1900 and died there in 1937. He forged a stunning international reputation as a figurative artist, a reputation that is greater than ever today. Many believe he was the greatest artist America has produced. The fact that Tanner was an African-American may be of more general significance today than it was during his lifetime, for we are in a period of backlash from the civil rights momentum achieved at no little pain and effort from the '50s through the '70s.
NEWS
February 12, 2012 | By Edward J. Sozanski, Contributing Art Critic
Henry Ossawa Tanner deserves a kinder fate than to have a major retrospective of his work sandwiched between Zoe-mania and Vincent van Gogh. But how could it be otherwise? Local photographer Zoe Strauss is emphatically "now" and populist, and van Gogh is a modern master and a perpetual crowd-pleaser. Tanner, by contrast, is a less demonstrative artist whose work reflects the conservative values of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Consequently, his art attracts less attention and requires a more measured response.
NEWS
April 14, 1991
When the doors close today on the exhibition of paintings by Henry Ossawa Tanner, more than 150,000 people will have trooped through the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the life's work of this turn-of-the-century, black Philadelphian. That impressive number of visitors puts the seven-week Tanner exhibit in a league with some of the museum's most popular shows. But it has also been a triumph on another level. With the Tanner exhibit, the museum attracted large numbers of first-time and infrequent museum-goers - and the exhibit held an especially powerful attraction for African Americans.
NEWS
January 9, 2015 | By Stephan Salisbury, INQUIRER CULTURE WRITER
In 1898, then-unknown black artist Henry Ossawa Tanner exhibited a monumental painting, The Annunciation , in the annual Paris Salon, where it was viewed with enthusiasm by French critics and visiting Philadelphians.  The Philadelphia Museum of Art then bought the painting in 1899, its first purchase of work by an African American, and Tanner's first inclusion in the collection of an American museum. More than a century later, The Annunciation has entered the canon of American visual art and the museum continues to acquire works by African American artists at an ever-increasing pace.
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NEWS
January 10, 2015 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Culture Writer
In 1898, the then-relatively unknown black artist Henry Ossawa Tanner exhibited a monumental painting, The Annunciation , in the annual Paris Salon, where it was viewed with enthusiasm by French critics and visiting Philadelphians. The Philadelphia Museum of Art bought the painting in 1899 - its first purchase of work by an African American, and Tanner's first inclusion in the collection of an American museum. More than a century later, The Annunciation has entered the canon of American visual art, and the museum continues to acquire works by African American artists at an ever-increasing pace.
NEWS
January 18, 2013 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Culture Writer
The Philadelphia Museum of Art and three other U.S. institutions have joined to offer a sweeping survey of historical American art for exhibition in South Korea. Museum officials describe the show, which includes more than 100 works drawn from three centuries of American art making, as the first such major survey in Korea. "Many Koreans are aware of American artists such as Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol, and familiar with post-1960s American art, but not with the work of artists of earlier periods, such as John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins," Seung-ik Kim, the National Museum of Korea's lead curator for the exhibition and a specialist in Korean modern art and visual culture, said on Wednesday.
NEWS
February 12, 2012 | By Edward J. Sozanski, Contributing Art Critic
Henry Ossawa Tanner deserves a kinder fate than to have a major retrospective of his work sandwiched between Zoe-mania and Vincent van Gogh. But how could it be otherwise? Local photographer Zoe Strauss is emphatically "now" and populist, and van Gogh is a modern master and a perpetual crowd-pleaser. Tanner, by contrast, is a less demonstrative artist whose work reflects the conservative values of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Consequently, his art attracts less attention and requires a more measured response.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 9, 2012 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Culture Writer
Attendance for the opening weekend of "Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit" at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was the highest recorded since the academy started tracking such figures a few years ago, according to a spokeswoman. Officials said 3,239 people visited the Tanner show, the first retrospective here in two decades to cover the painter's career, from the Jan. 27 opening preview through Sunday Jan. 29. Opening-weekend attendance has been tracked only since 2008's Cecilia Beaux exhibition, which drew 2,094 visitors.
NEWS
January 22, 2012 | By Edward J. Sozanski, Contributing Art Critic
Henry Ossawa Tanner isn't a giant of American art on the order of Thomas Eakins or Winslow Homer, yet he's a significant figure in this country's art history. That might sound contradictory until one considers that more than a century ago Tanner proved to white America that a black painter could measure up to the highest standards of his profession - even if he had to move to France to do so. Tanner was honored in racially tolerant France as he was not, and never could have been, in his native country.
NEWS
July 1, 2004 | By Susan Snyder INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Philadelphia School District plans to investigate reports that 24 paintings have been missing from Wilson Middle School for more than three decades, a spokesman said. District officials also will look to talk to representatives of other schools that have a record of missing paintings, including Frankford High School, said district spokesman Fernando Gallard. "If people have information on pieces missing from schools, we would basically request their assistance in finding out about those pieces," Gallard said this week.
NEWS
June 25, 2004 | By Susan Snyder INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The catalog of art collected in Philadelphia schools equals about four stacked Manhattan phone books. There are oil portraits by Thomas Eakins, a Central High graduate who went on to become a major American artist. One 1905 portrait depicts a Central High principal. There are works by a strong core of African American artists, including Henry Ossawa Tanner and Dox Thrash, and a group of late-19th- and early-20th-century impressionists, including Walter Baum, Walter Elmer Schofield and Edward Redfield.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 19, 2003 | By Annette John-Hall INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Branford Marsalis put it best. When asked to comment on the significance of his late friend Romare Bearden's being the first African American artist to receive a major retrospective at the National Gallery of Art, the jazz saxophonist replied: "I don't need the National Gallery for acceptance [of Bearden], and I'm pretty sure Romare would feel the same way. His work stands alone. This show is more of an affirmation than anything else. " You don't have to be a connoisseur to know that Bearden, who died of cancer in 1988 at age 76, was one of America's preeminent artists long before the National Gallery made him just the eighth modern artist to receive a full-scale show since it opened in 1941.
NEWS
October 14, 2000 | By David Iams, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Of all African American artists, Henry Ossawa Tanner is probably the best known. His work hangs in the White House as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art. But paintings by Tanner (1859-1937), who grew up here, studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Eakins, and then emigrated to Paris, do not often come on the market - not major ones, anyway. That is why widespread attention is being paid to Bill Bunch's auction of more than 200 paintings, which begins at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Concordville Inn. Midway in that sale, Bunch will offer a previously unknown painting by Tanner.
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