On this Day: June 21, 1859 | Birthday of Henry Ossawa Tanner

21 June 1859: Birthday of Henry Ossawa Tanner, American-French painter and illustrator (d. 1937) (Source)

Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1907 (Source)

Henry Ossawa Tanner (June 21, 1859 – May 25, 1937) was an American artist and the first African-American painter to gain international acclaim.[1] Tanner moved to Paris, France, in 1891 to study at the Académie Julian and gained acclaim in French artistic circles. His painting Daniel in the Lions’ Den (1895, location unknown) was accepted into the 1896 Salon,[2] the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.[3] Tanner’s Resurrection of Lazarus (1896, Musée d’Orsay, Paris) was purchased by the French government after winning the third-place medal at the 1897 Salon. In 1923, the French government elected Tanner chevalier of the Legion of Honor.[4][5]

After pursuing art on his own as a young man, Tanner enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1879. The only black student, he became a favorite of the painter Thomas Eakins, who had recently started teaching there. Tanner made other connections among artists, including Robert Henri. In the late 1890s, art patron Rodman Wanamaker sponsored Tanner’s trip to the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem after seeing the artist’s paintings of biblical themes.[6]

Tanner married Jessie Macauley Olssen on December 14, 1899, in London. Their son, Jesse Ossawa Tanner, was born in New York City on September 25, 1903.[7] The family made France their permanent home, dividing time between Paris and a farm in Normandy. (Source)


I am Volker Schunck and live in Dresden, Germany. First I was an industrial clerk, then I studied theology. Through my engagement with Zen, I became aware of the Christian mysticism. Meanwhile, I go my own way. For me, faith is not a world-view but a being. It is important to me, not to live lost in thought but aware and intensely. For me, this also includes careful handling of other people. The NVC (Nonviolent Communication), which I learned during my training as a mediator, helps me with this.

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