Henry Ossawa Tanner at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

A circa 1918 Untitled (Dusk Scene of a Flooded River and Nearby Town)  oil on cardstock by Tanner brought $33,600 in Swann’s October 8, 2009 auction

Later this month, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will launch an exhibition devoted to Henry Ossawa Tanner Modern Spirit–it runs from January 28 to April 15, then moves on to the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. 

Adoration of the Golden Calf, oil on canvas, circa 1895, sold for $72,000 on February 17, 2009

Tanner was one of the first African-American students at the Pennsylvania Academy, and the exhibition explores his life and career, including, as the Academy describes it, “the pioneering African-American artist’s upbringing in Philadelphia in the years after the Civil War; the artist’s success as an American expatriate artist at the highest levels of the international art world at the turn of the 20th century; Tanner’s role as a leader of an artist’s colony in rural France; his modernist invigoration of religious painting deeply rooted in his own faith; Tanner’s depictions of the Holy Land and North Africa interpreted through comparison with contemporary French orientalist painting and photography; and the scientific and technical innovations of the artist’s oeuvre.”

Seated Arab, oil on wood panel, circa 1895-99, sold for $72,000 on October 4, 2007 

Swann has offered several significant paintings by the artist since we began conducting sales of African-American Fine Art, and among the excellent 19th-century highlights in our upcoming February 16 auction is a posthumous circa 1905-10 etching, Gateway in Tangier (below).

Gateway in Tangier, etching, circa 1905-10, signed and numbered by the artist’s son,
is among the highlights of Swann’s next auction of African-American Fine Art