Inspiration – Henry Ossawa Tanner

Henry Ossawa Tanner has been a major presence in my life as a painter for many years. His grasp of overt and subtle visual dynamics is astounding, as is his dual ability to modulate fields of colors and negotiate edge quality. In many ways his works prefigure the Abstract Expressionists who were to follow him 40 or 50 years later.  The work below, Nicodemus Visiting Jesus by Night (1899, Collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art) is one of his masterworks. You can read more about the image here, and click on it for a larger view.

To me, this work below is the painter’s absolute triumph:

Annunciation (1898, Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art). Click to expand.

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