Two works by Henry Ossawa Tanner at the Dallas Museum
Henry Ossawa Tanner — The Thankful Poor — 1894
From August 17, 2021 to January 2, 2022, the Dallas Museum of Art presents an exhibition of two paintings by the African-American realist painter Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937), explaining the discoveries of a recent conservation treatment of both works.
Source: Dallas Museum of Art (DMA). Image: Henry Ossawa Tanner, “The Thankful Poor” (1894). 90 × 112.4 cm
A pupil of Thomas Eakins, Henry Ossawa Tanner was possibly the first African-American painter to gain international acclaim, although the racism of American society at the time forced him to move to France at the age of 30, joining the American Art Students Club in Paris. From then on his work showed the influence of artists such as Corot and Courbet, who were present at the Louvre, which Tanner frequented.
Of the two works in the exhibition, “The Thankful Poor” (1894) is possibly the better known. The depiction of a humble but dignified African-American family is considered a landmark in the history of African-American art. The painting, which was part of Bill Cosby’s collection, was acquired by the Art Bridges Foundation in 2020. According to the Museum, the conservation treatment performed on the work has revealed a previously unappreciable range of paint colours, showing Tanner’s deep understanding of colour theory. “Christ and His Mother Studying the Scriptures” (1908) is an example of the artist’s religious painting, owned by the Dallas Museum of Art.
The exhibition of the two works has been made possible through a partnership with the Art Bridges Foundation, a private foundation whose mission is to increase access to American art across the country by facilitating loans between museums and institutions. #2021 #DMADallasMuseumofArt #theartwolf