Exciting Programs and Performances at PAFA to Accompany Groundbreaking Exhibition Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit

Free Sunday admission and programs
Wednesday evening hours with wine bar and French cuisine

PHILADELPHIA – The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is proud to present a schedule of special programs, performances, family art activities, and workshops in conjunction with the exhibition Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit, on view January 28 – April 15. In addition, Sunday admission to the exhibition and programs will be free during the run of the exhibition. A wine bar and food with a French flare will accompany extended Wednesday hours.

Included in the public programs are “From Istanbul to Cairo” art making activities; an original performance by Pennsylvania’s only African American opera company, Opera North, Inc.; and a night-sky exploration with Franklin Institute astronomer Derrick Pitts, inspired by Tanner’s nocturnal scenes. Lectures will be offered on the newest discoveries about the artist’s work, Tanner and Transatlanticism, and Tanner’s influence on contemporary artist Willie Cole.

Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit is being organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), where the artist studied from 1879 to 1885. The exhibition will contain over 100 works, including 12 paintings that have never been shown in a Tanner retrospective and the only two known sculptures that Tanner completed. The exhibition also includes Tanner's famed Resurrection of Lazarus, from the collection of the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, a career-making canvas that earned Tanner his first international praise when it was exhibited in 1897 and which has never crossed the Atlantic.

“Henry O. Tanner is a transcendent figure both in art and in the history of America," remarks Harry Philbrick, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum. "His compelling story and rich body of work will make for a superb national traveling exhibition."

Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit delves into the life and career of Henry O. Tanner from his upbringing in Philadelphia in the years after the Civil War; through the artist’s training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; his success as an American artist at the highest levels of the international art world at the turn of the 20th century; his role as an elected leader of an artist’s colony in rural France; his unique contributions in aid of servicemen during World War I through the Red Cross in France; his modernist invigoration of religious painting deeply rooted in his own faith; and Tanner’s depiction of the Holy Land and North Africa.

The most substantial scholarly catalogue to date on Tanner’s life and work accompanies the exhibition. This book includes 14 essays written by established and emerging scholars from the United States and France, and is being published by University of California Press.

Additionally, the first-ever children’s book about Henry O. Tanner was published by PAFA and Bunker Hill Press. Written and illustrated by the renowned artist-author Faith Ringgold, this publication will inspire generations of young people through the extraordinary accomplishments of Tanner.

After premiering at PAFA, the show will travel to the Cincinnati Art Museum, from May 26 - September 9, 2012, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, from Oct. 21, 2012 - Jan. 13, 2013.

Also on view:
After Henry Tanner: African American Artists since 1940
January 28 - April 15, 2012

Henry Ossawa Tanner was a mentor and role model for younger artists during his lifetime and a source of pride for many generations of artists since his death in 1937. Drawing on PAFA’s outstanding examples of work by African-American artists, this permanent collection installation will complement the Tanner retrospective to give a sense of Tanner’s enduring legacy for artists working since his death. Artists included are Emma Amos, Richmond Barthé, James Brantley, Donald Camp, Elizabeth Catlett, Barkley Hendricks, Humbert Howard, Norman Lewis, Edward Loper, Whitfield Lovell, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Raymond Saunders, Louis Sloan, Dox Thrash, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, and others.

Moe Brooker: The Evidence of Things Not Seen
February 10 – April 15, 2011

The PAFA Alumni Sales Gallery will present an exhibition of works by Moe Brooker, inspired by the biblical reference “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Brooker’s father was a member of the A.M.E. Church where Tanner’s father was bishop.

Moe Brooker is one of Philadelphia’s most prominent artists. Along with his dedicated studio practice, he is very involved in the Philadelphia arts community, as chair of the City of Philadelphia’s Art Commission and a member of the Mayor Nutter’s Cultural Advisory Council. He also serves on President Obama’s National Arts Policy Committee.

Moe Brooker (PAFA ’63), professor and chair of the Foundation Department at Moore College of Art and Design, received Moore’s first endowed professorship, The Penny and Bob Fox Distinguished Professorship, in 2011. He also teaches at PAFA.


Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit‘s Presenting Philadelphia Area Sponsor is Exelon Foundation.  Presenting Foundation sponsors are The Terra Foundation for American Art, and the Henry Luce Foundation. This exhibition has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Because democracy demands wisdom. Leading support came from the Mr. & Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc., major corporate support came from the Exelon Foundation and PECO with participating support from the Edna W. Andrade Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation.

Media support is provided by CBS3 and The Philadelphia Tribune. WHYY is a proud community partner.  

The Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. Recognizing the importance of experiencing original works of art, the foundation provides opportunities for interaction and study, beginning with the presentation and growth of its own art collection in Chicago. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research, and educational programs. Implicit in such activities is the belief that art has the potential both to distinguish cultures and to unite them.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965, dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.  It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.  Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our Republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans.  Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition and publication do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, cofounder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc. The Luce Foundation supports projects in American art, higher education, Asian affairs, theology, women in science and engineering, and public policy and the environment.  Through the Program in American Art, begun in 1982, the Foundation has distributed over $130 million to some 250 museums, universities, and service organizations in 47 states, the District of Columbia and internationally.

The Exelon Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization funded solely by Exelon Corporation, an energy company, through shareholder dollars. The Foundation supports non-profit, tax-exempt organizations primarily within the service territories of Exelon and its operating companies. The mission of the Foundation is to encourage respect for the environment and strengthen the social and economic fabric of the community by supporting programs in the areas of environment and conservation, innovative math and science education, and diversity and tolerance.

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is America's first school of fine arts and museum.  A recipient of the 2005 National Medal of Arts presented by the President of the United States, PAFA is a recognized leader in fine arts education. Nearly every major American artist has taught, studied, or exhibited at the Academy. The institution's world-class collection of American art continues to grow and provides what only a few other art institutions in the world offer: the rare combination of an outstanding museum and an extraordinary faculty known for its commitment to students and for the stature and quality of its artistic work.

Tuesday  through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday to 8 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

(includes the Historic Landmark Building)
Adults $15; Senior (60+) and Students with I.D. $12;
Youth ages (13 - 18) $10; Child (12 and under, excluding groups) FREE.

Sunday admission to Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit is FREE throughout the run of the exhibition.

Adults $10; Senior (60+) and Students with I.D. $8;
Youth ages (13 - 18) $6; Child (12 and under, excluding groups) FREE