Saturday, January 11, 2014

1920's Banjo Player in Paris

Henry Ossawa Tanner was an African American artist born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

Tanner studied under Thomas Eakins, a teacher who challenged and succcessfully changed the core of what was then art school education. Eakins encouraged students to study from live models rather than static casts.  

Tanner moved to Paris in 1891 and in 1896, he showed in the Paris Salon for the first time.

Henry Ossawa Tanner - The Arch - 1896 -  Brooklyn Museum

Among sources of inspiration for Tanner, while in Paris, was the banjo player from back home...

Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Banjo Lesson, 1893. Oil on canvas, 49" × 35½". Hampton University Museum.

And with artists like Tanner, Paris,in the early 20th century, was transported back to Africa...

Picasso, 1907, Museum of Modern Art. Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest, New York City

Until the Roaring Twenties, Paris continued to celebrated African, Carribean and Latin American cultures with flamboyance...

Man Ray, Black and White, 1927

banjo playing at La Boule Blanche...

Brassai, "at the Boule Blanche", c.1931

At the same time a parisian artist crafted this marvel of amber, meerschaum and ivory...

Courtesy Private Collection

As a vibrant and joyful expression of such heady days...

Courtesy Private Collection

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