Henry Ossawa Tanner
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The United States on the World Stage, 1865–1930
In this dramatic nocturnal scene, Henry Ossawa Tanner recorded the Celebration of the Dead, held on July 13, 1919, in Paris to honor those who died defending France during World War I. Here, the crowd is rendered as a largely anonymous mass; the figures converge before a brilliantly illuminated cenotaph, or empty tomb, temporarily erected behind the Arc de Triomphe. As in many of Tanner’s religious nocturnes, the cool cerulean palette and muted tonalities evoke a solemn, even spiritual, mood.
Paris was a familiar subject for Tanner, an African American expatriate artist of international renown who resided in the French capital and in Brittany for most of his adult life. During these decades abroad, Tanner experienced racial prejudice to a lesser degree than he had in the United States and enjoyed greater artistic freedom and opportunity.
Oil on canvas
39 1/4 x 38 3/16 in. (99.7 x 97 cm)
Frame: 42 7/8 x 42 x 2 5/8 in. (108.9 x 106.7 x 6.7 cm) (show scale)
Incised lower left: "H.O. TANNER"
Signed lower left: "H.O. TANNER / PARIS July 13 191"
Gift of Alfred W. Jenkins
Henry Ossawa Tanner (American, 1859-1937). The Arch, 1919. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 38 3/16 in. (99.7 x 97 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Alfred W. Jenkins, 32.10 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 32.10_SL1.jpg)
overall, 32.10_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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