This installation pairs two works by acclaimed painter Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937) that underwent a comprehensive conservation treatment and technical study by the DMA with generous support from the Art Bridges Foundation. The results contribute new insights into the practice of this important American artist. Born to a religious family, Tanner trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and initially painted scenes depicting African American life. Due to extreme racism and the professional obstacles he faced in the US, Tanner moved to Paris while in his 30s and turned his focus toward biblical scenes, a theme from which he rarely strayed for the rest of his life and that established his legacy.
The examination of two paintings from the early and mature phases of Tanner’s career—The Thankful Poor (1894), on loan from Art Bridges, and the DMA’s Christ and His Mother Studying the Scriptures (about 1908)—revealed both common threads and significant evolution in Tanner’s practice. Discoveries include how Tanner pushed the limits of traditional techniques, his exploration of color theory and use of contrasting primary colors, his reuse of canvases, revealing abandoned compositions.
Admission is FREE.
Find out about the treatment of The Thankful Poor and what was uncovered through the conservation process with Laura Eva Hartman, Paintings Conservator at the DMA.
Focus On: Henry Ossawa Tanner is co-organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and Art Bridges. Support for this exhibition is provided by Art Bridges. The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA members and donors, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture.
Images: Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Thankful Poor, 1894, oil on canvas, Art Bridges; Henry Ossawa Tanner, Christ and His Mother Studying the Scriptures, c. 1908, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Deaccession Funds, 1986.9; Focus On: Henry Ossawa Tanner at the Dallas Museum of Art