Conversation: Henry Ossawa Tanner at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

BY Jeffrey Brown  April 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM EST


Henry Ossawa Tanner is known as the first African-American artist to gain international success and fame. He was born in Pittsburgh in 1859, spent much of his youth in Philadelphia, but lived most of his adult life in Paris.

More than 100 of his works appear in the exhibition, “Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit,” at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, from early paintings done as a student in Philadelphia to mature works from his Paris years and his travels to the Middle East and Northern Africa.

I recently spoke to Anna Marley, curator of the exhibition, about Tanner and his work.