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H. O. Tanner, Modern Spirit

Produced by Michael O'Reilly


February 2012

While he was born in Pittsburgh and later died in Paris, Henry Ossawa Tanner was a Philadelphia original. The ART segment explores some of the stories behind MODERN SPIRIT - the first major exhibition devoted to his work in 20 years to be mounted at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). Born shortly after the Civil War, Tanner's father was a bishop at Mother Bethel AME, and moved the family to Philadelphia, near Fairmount Park. After a chance encounter with a painter in the park one day, Tanner was said to have seen his life's calling and vowed to become an artist himself. He trained at PAFA with Thomas Eakins and eventually won fame in Paris, where the French government purchased some major paintings. A number of those works will travel from France for the first time ever and will be on view in the city where Tanner came into his own as an artist and a man.


Extended interview with Lewis Tanner Moore | Edited by Luke J. Marron