National Gallery, Henry Tanner, Henry O Tanner discussed on Speaking of Art
Host Edwin Hoffman coming to you live from the Wham studios. I'm Packard road and beautiful Ann Arbor Michigan. Derek stone is my very talent producer. And he's looking at me through the double glass that making sure everything on the board is running. All right. And then I'm sounding halfway decent. Welcome back. Everyone to the show. We were talking about are celebrating black history month here for most of this program with some artists of mine who are absolutely terrific. And then I'm going to be talking at the very end sort of like as a precursor for guests from the Frick collection next week on a fabulous exhibition of the art of Giuseppi Maroney, one of the great portrait painters of mid sixteenth century Italy, and how his portraits which do not look fierce or say in a, you know, a militarized kind of way or people looking I've say distraught. Or there isn't a whole lot of emotion. These faces. It is true mannerism in that we have elongated bodies, very very elegant people sort of neutral looks on their faces, but actual portrait likenesses that are highly realistic. And even though obviously this is an old master artist from the period, just after the high renaissance we're struck by the incredible devotion to realism that makes it look almost modern with all the details, and I can't wait to be able to have that interview next week. And we'll we'll talk a little bit about another artists artists, particularly and at Antonio Mora in just a few minutes and talk about a couple of his works. But I wanted to just leaving the Westwood children. By the first African American artists of renown in this country painting the late seventeen hundreds in the early eighteen hundreds the Westwood children which is at the National Gallery of art. It was part of the Edgar Bernice Chrysler garbage collection was. Donated to the gallery, I think around nineteen fifty nine nine hundred sixty beautiful example of American naive or primitive art family portraiture of a Baltimore family. I think the the family were in the stage coach making business, so they were prosperous family. These types of families that this itinerary artists this Lindner would travel around quite a bit painting and getting these commissions where he could it's a a wonderful painting another which the National Gallery was able to acquire a few years ago when the Corcoran Gallery of art, which was Washington DC's. I museum of fine art William Wilson Corcoran, assembled a fabulous collection in the nineteenth century early. Twentieth. Century particularly of American art of the tonal is period of the Hudson river school the luminous the early twentieth. Century sculpture, also Hiram powers and others. George washington. Sculpture. I mean, many of the pieces that we've seen illustrated in history books our whole lives. Many of those pieces were at the Corcoran Gallery. Well, the Corcoran had this. I think a jury addition built to it maybe about twenty five or so thirty years ago because the courtroom is famous also for being an art school. And eventually they'll maybe with the cost of that construction with beautiful bows are original building from the nineteenth century. I mean, it's an absolutely fantastic Bill even had a French period room from the seventeen eighty s I remember going there often when I lived in Washington DC, but they went had very difficult financial situation that went on for a long time and eventually it closed its doors, but most of its collection or most of the best pieces were acquired by the National Gallery of art. And they're they're now one of the paintings that they were able to acquire a few years ago from the Corcoran was by Joshua, John. Jason. And that is the grace Alison McCurdy and her daughters painting from eighteen four, which is I think one of Johnson's most wonderful pieces. And if you're listening on a computer again, go to nj dot gov for the National Gallery put in Joshua Johnson. Were put in simply grace, Alison McCurdy MC than C U R D Y by Joshua Johnson. And the image will come up of the mother and her two daughters. Absolutely wonderful painting again that neutral background in this case kind of like a a bluish tan color in the background. And what looks like, you know, the gentle hillside of of a slope of a hill in the far distance. Maybe even with the sunset near the light on the wall. That's actually the back of the set where they are seated again, we have a couple of still lifes. We have the the one daughter the sort of the elder daughter holding a basket very much like the one that we saw with the eldest Westwood child holding which is a still life of beautiful flowers, the greenery, and then the pinks or maybe they're roses in. Her hand, which of course, a symbol of fidelity and innocence. And then we have the mother also hold him probably a flower from that basket in her hands. And then our is go to the beautiful white muslin. Clothing that they're wearing. And also the hair brought up in that early nineteenth century sort of hairstyle the high waste of the of the costume. So you can kind of date this just visually by looking at the fashion. This is an American family a Baltimore family, but you can see that's Baltimore was a sophisticated city. And they were aware of what was going on in Europe at that time. The French empire was about to be established that same year. And the styles were changing the serve romantic era was underway. And those styles that were being born say in France and Germany and England during what would be the regency period they were coming over to America. Also. So you can see that this is a family very cogs that not only of its social position, but of its sense of fashion, and it is just beautiful. The faces are are lovely the details. I think of this painting as even kind of like being the next stage of what we saw with the Westwood children were all the faith. Faces of the children despite the regardless of the age, they all look like George Washington there is there's almost kind of like a a generic look in all the faces. That reminds me of Gilbert Stuart's, George Washington here, though, you have a little bit more definition. It's a more sophisticated painting absolutely beautiful. So this artist Joshua Johnson known as the first African American artists of renown. He was not able to be safe fantastically successful. Just with his paintings. He had to make a living doing other things. And we think maybe painting furniture. He moved around a lot in that limited tradition of the tenor and travelling artists and getting painting commissions whenever he could when he when he wasn't doing that he might have been working with in the furniture industry painting chairs and other types of pieces because wherever he lived. He seemed to be near a place of furniture manufacturer later in the century. Another one of my favorite artists also at the National Gallery of art Henry a sour Tanner, T A, N N E R his dates eighteen fifty nine to nineteen thirty seven and a painting that I remember looking at as a young man and later on when I worked at the National Gallery, small painting, again, maybe a little bit bigger than a cigar box cover, the San the San, of course, the river running through Paris nineteen to Henry Tanner was able to travel overseas like Whistler like John singer Sargent. We have a sense of American sensibility also being lightened and being refined by contact with European models in this case with this which makes it fascinated. With Henry Tanner who was a very well known artists in his own to and again, one of the greatest of the African American artists in the nineteenth century in truly in American history. This painting came to the National Gallery of art around nineteen seventy and what is wonderful about this painting. It is so sophisticated with the colors were were looking along the river as if we're actually along the dockside or maybe in one of the barges. Looking to to the right Bank of the Seine. And we can actually identify the buildings that are there near the institute to France. We can see one of the major bridges going across from the sky to the reflections in the river, basically the same palette, but there's a difference in the treatment. So you can tell one from the other. But this wonderful gauzy cotton, candy palette that he has in this painting from the yellows at the top two little bit of hint of blue to the pinks violet colors a little bit of red than the blue again when we get down into the river, and then the beautiful decorative element of the boat moored there at the worth side and very little activity along there, but just the beauty of the sky in the evening coloration in this painting is just fantastic. You would think this is a much larger painting to look at it. You wouldn't realize that this painting is basically eight and a half by eleven in size. And it's just a a fabulous fabulous piece. I think it's on artists board, and it's one of my favorite paintings are at the National Gallery by Henry, Tanner. One of the great American travelling artists who went over to Europe and absorbed a lot of that tradition. And then was able to not only make a great career there. But able to come back to these shores another work of art, that's wonderful that shows in a in a different genre of an etching by Tanner is Christ walking on water from nineteen ten and again here, you have a sense of religiosity of giving you just enough detail to let your mind sort of go from there you as opposed to say a secular artist trying to paint a religious scene and bringing kind of like analytical detail, and I say aloofness. To it. You don't have that. In the hands of Henry o Tanner. You get a sense of real religiosity. Here you have almost like Albert pinkham Ryder. In fact, the way that the boat is handled in the way that we see the inside of the boat under sail. We can't see the wholesale. It seems to be moving slowly from right to left. We have Christ approaching the fishermen his his his disciples walking on the water and very similarly handled to the way that Whistler would do this. You see Christ done almost as a ghost like pedal manteaux type figure in other words is if it's just simply bled out over time or was painted over. You can just make out the contours of Christ's body to the right of the print as he approaches the fishing boat, which is of course, you know, inked very heavily. And you've got more details. They are and you can see the apostles there. The the surface of the water is beautiful. You can see the moon rising above the horizon, which is absolutely beautifully handled. This is one of those works. Of art that makes you think that you can see colors eve in it. Even though it's it's a black and white etchings a print. There's so much more here. Everything from the color of the handmade paper to the different textures that Tanner's able to give to Christ ethereal walking tour, the fishing boat, and then the apostles inside all in different in different poses to the rising moon to just, you know, flex from, you know, from his from his burn in digging into the.