Black History Month: Henry Ossawa Tanner

Henry Ossawa Tanner was one of the most distinguished artists of the 19th century, and the first African American artist recognized internationally for his work. He became known primarily for his paintings that depicted biblical themes “in their original setting.” Tanner was born in Philadelphia in 1859. His father was a teacher and bishop in the African Methodist Episcopalian Church. His mother was a former slave who escaped to Philadelphia through the Underground Railroad. Tanner painted important works depicting African American subjects, but two of his most prominent and award-winning paintings were his acclaimed Daniel in the Lion’s Den in 1895 and, two years later, his Raising of Lazarus, which won a medal at the Paris Salon and became part of the collection of the Louvre in Paris.

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