This beautiful book, companion publication to the exhibition of the same name, presents a complex overview of the life and career of the pioneering African American artist Henry O. Tanner (1859–1937). Recognized as the patriarch of African American artists, Tanner forged a path to international success, powerfully influencing younger black artists who came after him. Following a preface by David Driskell, the essays in this book—written by international scholars including Alan Braddock, Michael Leja, Jean-Claude Lesage, Richard Powell, Marc Simpson, Tyler Stovall, and Hélène Valance—explore many facets of Tanner’s life, including his upbringing in post–Civil War Philadelphia, his background as the son of a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal church, and his role as the first major academically trained African American artist. Additional essays discuss Tanner’s expatriate life in France, his depictions of the Holy Land and North Africa, and the scientific and technical innovations reflected in his oeuvre. Edited and introduced by Anna O. Marley, this volume expands our understanding of Tanner’s place in art history, showing that his status as a painter was deeply influenced by his race but not decided by it.
Contributors: Brian Baade, Alan Braddock, Marcus Bruce, Adrienne L. Childs, Robert Cozzolino, David Driskell, Amber Kerr-Allison, Michael Leja, Jean-Claude Lesage, Anna O. Marley, Olivier Meslay, Richard Powell, Marc Simpson, Tyler Stovall, Hélène Valance