National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Seine Henry Ossawa Tanner (artist)
American, 1859 - 1937
The Seine, c. 1902
oil on canvas
overall: 22.8 x 33 cm (9 x 13 in.) framed: 41.9 x 52.1 x 6.4 cm (16 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.)
Gift of the Avalon Foundation
1971.57.1
On View
From the Tour: Whistler, Sargent, and Tanner — Americans Abroad in the Late 1800s
Object 1 of 7

Henry Ossawa Tanner, son of an African American minister, left the United States partly to escape racial prejudice. After studying under Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia, Tanner departed in 1891 for Paris, where he won fame and awards for his paintings of biblical subjects.

The Seine indicates that Tanner was familiar with the French impressionists' on-the-spot observations of nature. This tiny oil sketch reduces the Paris skyline to a violet band silhouetted between a pink sunset and its reflection in the river Seine. The Trocadéro Palace, an ornate exhibition hall built for the 1878 World’s Fair, dominates the view, while a lone figure on the shadowy dock recalls the mystical aura of Tanner's religious scenes.

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