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Henry Ossawa Tanner

The Annunciation, 1898, by Henry Ossawa Tanner

An African American Artist in Paris

Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937) studied in Philadelphia with the realist painter Thomas Eakins before moving to France, where he enjoyed more freedom as an artist. His early successes in Parisian exhibitions included images of African Americans, French peasants, and dramatic Bible stories. Raised in the African Methodist Episcopal church, Tanner traveled to the Middle East and North Africa to give grounding to his spiritual imagination.