Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Additional Online Media

Catalog Data

Tanner, Henry Ossawa, 1859-1937  Search this
Carpenter, J.S.  Search this
Taverty, J.J.  Search this
Curtis, Atherton  Search this
Tanner, Jessie O.  Search this
Tanner, Jesse O.  Search this
Académie Julian  Search this
Art Institute of Chicago  Search this
Grand Central Art Galleries  Search this
Old American Art Club (Paris, France)  Search this
Place of publication, production, or execution:
United States
Physical Description:
2.3 Linear feet
The collection is arranged into 6 series: Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1890-1937 (Box 1, 4, OV 5; 0.8 linear feet) Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1890-1978 (Box 1, OV 5; 0.6 linear feet) Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1897-circa 1950s (Box 1-2, OV 5; 9 folders) Series 4: Printed Material, 1897-1975 (Box 2, OV 5; 9 folders) Series 5: Photographs, 1860s-1943 (Box 3, OV 5; 0.4 linear feet) Series 6: Artwork, 1891-1893 (Box 3; 2 folders)
Access Note / Rights:
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
The papers of the expatriate African American painter Henry Ossawa Tanner measure 2.3 linear feet and date from the 1860s to 1978, with the bulk of the material dating from 1890 to 1937. Found in the papers are scattered biographical, family, and legal materials; twenty-seven folders of correspondence with family, friends, patrons, and galleries; writings and notes by Tanner and others; a small amount of printed material; numerous photographs of Tanner, his studio in Paris and home in Trepied, Normandy, his family, friends, fellow artists, and his artwork. Additional photographs include a circa 1890 shot of Tanner with fellow students at the Académie Julian and another depicting Tanner with members of the American Art Club in Paris, circa 1900. Also found are a few sketches and drawings.
Henry Ossawa Tanner papers, 1860s-1978, bulk 1890-1937. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Additional Forms:
The papers of Henry Ossawa Tanner in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007, and total 2471 images.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Use Note:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Related Materials:
Also found at the Archives of American Art are the Marcia M. Mathews papers relating to Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1937-1969, available on microfilm reels 64 and 3268. Archives of American Art microfilm reel 4399 contains the Alexander family papers relating to Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1912-1985, the originals of which are housed in the University of Pennsylvania Archives. Microfilm reel 4397 is a copy of the the Henry O. Tanner letters to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1885-1909, loaned for microfilming by the Academy.
Biography Note:
African American painter Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Benjamin Tucker Tanner, a college-educated teacher and minister, and Sarah Miller Tanner, who was formerly enslaved. Benjamin Tanner was very active in the African Methodist Episcopal (A. M. E.) Church, eventually becoming a bishop, and the family often moved while Henry was a small child. They settled in Philadelphia, and as a teenager, Tanner spent his free time painting, drawing, and visiting art galleries. In 1880 he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he studied under several master art instructors, including Thomas Eakins who greatly influenced his early work.
Language Note:
English and French
The Henry Ossawa Tanner papers were donated in several increments by his son, Jesse O. Tanner, between 1967 to 1978. Additional papers were donated by Jesse O. Tanner through Marcia M. Mathews, who was in possession of Tanner's papers to write Tanner's biography. Four medals were transferred to the Archives from the National Museum of African Art.
Digitization Note:
The papers of Henry Ossawa Tanner in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 2,532 images.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Expatriate painters -- France -- Paris  Search this
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
African American artists  Search this
African American  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
African American
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art