Henry Ossawa Tanner exhibition opens at CAM | Arts & Culture
CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The life and career of one of the greatest African American painters will be on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum in the exhibition, Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit, from Saturday, May 26, 2012 through September 9, 2012. The son of a former slave and an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Bishop, Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) gained international acclaim in the art world of his day.
Tanner’s first ever solo exhibition was held in the fall of 1890, right here in Cincinnati. More than a century later, Modern Spirit will include over one hundred pieces, from paintings to rare sculptures, illuminating Tanner’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; and his modernist invigoration of religious painting deeply rooted in his own faith.
“Tanner’s paintings have a profound emotional resonance that reaches today’s viewers, as it did in his lifetime,” remarks Julie Aronson, Cincinnati Art Museum Curator of American Painting, Sculpture and Drawings. “Their beauty and mysterious qualities draw us in to Tanner’s universe. His remarkable story remains an inspiration to generations of young artists trying to find their own pathways to success.”
The exhibition begins with Tanner’s early landscapes and family portraits, then journeys with him to Paris, where he painted the biblical themes for which he became famous. The exhibition’s defining moment comes with his acclaimed Resurrection of Lazurus, which travels from the Musée d-Orsay in Paris to the United States for the very first time. Using light to dramatic effect, the artist captured the reactions of the witnesses to the miracle in which Christ restores life to Lazarus, who rises from his tomb. Through Tanner’s eyes, we then explore Palestine and the Near East in paintings, layered in brilliant color, that seem to glow from within.
“Tanner was without a doubt one of the greatest American painters of the turn of the last century,” comments Art Museum Director Aaron Betsky; “He brought a sense of psychological analysis to his biblical scenes, combining those insights with a realistic depiction of Palestine and the pragmatic grandeur he learned from his teacher, Thomas Eakins. We are so proud to have this landmark exhibition here in Cincinnati.”
Organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, this exhibition is the second stop on a three city tour. This nationally touring exhibition is accompanied by a major catalogue and the first children’s book about Tanner by renowned artist Faith Ringgold.
Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit was organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, with major support from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Henry Luce Foundation, and funding from the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc.
The Cincinnati Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Art Museum is closed on Mondays.
Admission is always free. For general information, call (513) 639-2995 or visit www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org.
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