Henry Ossawa Tanner featured on PBS NewsHour

Here’s another great web-only interview by Jeffrey Brown of the PBS NewsHour. This one is with Anna O. Marley, curator of “Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit,” now on exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

The Banjo Lesson

Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) was one of the first major African American painters. He trained under Thomas Eakins, traveled to Jerusalem and Cairo, lived most of his adult life in Paris, and produced only a couple of pieces that depicted black life in the United States.

One of the best paintings hanging in the Telfair Academy rotunda here in Savannah is a landscape that Tanner painted the year he turned 21 — and about a decade before Tanner headed to Paris.

The Telfair's untitled painting by Henry Ossawa Tanner

The untitled marine scene at the Telfair (the museum also owns a study of an American soldier, but I don’t recall ever seeing it) was once owned by Zane Grey, the famed Western novelist, who was a friend of the Wanamaker family; Tanner’s Middle East travels were sponsored by Rodman Wanamaker, son of the founder of the famed department store.

The interview is well worth the 8 minutes:

Watch Conversation: Henry Ossawa Tanner on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.