Afro American Artists and France: In Henry Ossawa Tanner's Footsteps


Henry Ossawa TannerLa résurrection de Lazare© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) , a pioneering African-American artist raised in Philadelphia in the years after the Civil War, went on to become an American expatriate artist at the highest levels of the international art world at the turn of the twentieth century. He devoted 46 years of his life and career to France. Three religious paintings −a genre in which Henry O. Tanner gained his fame − were acquired by the French state during the artist's life, and now form a part of the Musée d'Orsay's collection. They will be on display at the Musée d'Orsay during the symposium, and shortly thereafter, travel to the United States - one of them − The Resurrection of Lazarus − for the first time.
Using the career of Henry O. Tanner as a starting point, this study day will explore the century-long history of African American art and France, asking how racial and cultural identities interplayed with transatlantic exchanges from fin-de-siècle cosmopolitanism into the post-colonial age. International speakers will discuss the work of artists traveling to Paris specifically and France more generally. At first attracted by a rich artistic and intellectual scene and the possibility of artistic recognition that was not always to be found in their home country, these artists were later motivated by the vibrant and creative "années folles" to be found in jazz age Paris.

Under the supervision of Anna Marley, curator, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia

In partnership with the PAFA, the Terra Foundation for American Art and the INHA

9 - 10 November 2011

Musée d'Orsay Auditorium / INHA

Preliminary lecture

Valorization, Effacement & Rupture in the History of Black American Art in France
Richard Powell, Professor, Duke University, >North Carolina  
Wed 9 November 2011 - 18h30
Musée d'Orsay

Auditorium, level -2

Free admission through Gate C according to availability

No bookings

Simultaneous translation

Piano concert

Sodi Braide, piano
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Extracts from 24 Negro Melodies, op. 59
The Angels Changed My Name
Going Up
Deep River

Charles Ives
The Anti-Abolitionist Riots in the 1830's and 1840's
Three-page sonata
Claude Debussy
Extracts from Preludes
Des pas sur la neige
General Lavine : eccentric
Feux d'artifice

George Gershwin
Three preludes
Rhapsody in Blue
(transcription for piano solo by Gershwin)


With the support of AFMO

Wed 9 November 2011 - 20h00
Musée d'Orsay

Auditorium, level -2

Free admission through Gate C according to availability

No bookings

First part of the symposium in the Musée d'Orsay auditorium

  • 10.30-11am Henry Ossawa Tanner's Raising of Lazarus from Le Quartier Latin to the Luxembourg
    by Marc Simpson, Williams College, Massachussetts
  • 11-11.30am Foremost Sculptor of the Negro Race: Meta Warrick Fuller and Paris
    by Renee Ater, University of Maryland

  • 11.30am-12pm The Concept of the Color Line and France: Jefferson, DuBois and Tanner
    by Anna Lafont, INHA (Paris)
  • 12h-12h30 Talk
    Thu 10 November 2011 - 09h30
    Musée d'Orsay

    Auditorium level -2

    Free admission through Gate C according to availability

    No bookings

    Second part of the symposium in the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art

    • 3-3.30pm Colonialism : From the Indélicats to Ousmane Sow
      by Sarah Wilson, Courtauld Institute, London
    • 3.30-4pm History of Contemporary African American Art, new challenges for French research and critical reception
      by Elvan Zabunyan, Université Rennes 2
    • 4-4.30pm Permutational Aesthetics
      by Huey Copeland, Northwerstern University, Chicago
    • 4.30-5pm Talk
    Thu 10 November 2011 - 15h00

    Galerie Colbert
    6 rue des Petits Champs
    2 rue Vivienne
    75002 Paris

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