MORRIS MUSEUM OF ART PERMANENT COLLECTION

"Georgia Landscape" by Henry Ossawa Tanner

Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937)
Georgia Landscape
1889–90
Oil on canvas
17¾ x 32¼ inches
Museum purchase; 1989.01.201

An overcast sky casts a somber mood on this landscape by Henry Ossawa Tanner. Tanner was raised in an affluent, well-educated African American family and trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Tanner moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1889 in an unsuccessful attempt to support himself as an artist and instructor among prosperous middle-class African Americans there. Proceeds from Tanner's first solo exhibition enabled the struggling artist to move to Paris in 1891. In France, the artist established a reputation as an academic and religious painter and won some of that country's most prestigious awards in art.

It is believed that Tanner painted this work in the fall of 1889 while living in Atlanta. However, some scholars argue that this work was created while the artist still resided in the Philadelphia area. Whether or not the work is indeed Georgian, it does provide a link to the artist's brief Southern sojourn.