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: African American Artists: Collection Highlights
Object 22 of 22

Light seems to emanate from this painting of the river Seine, which runs through Paris. The setting sun, though not visible, blankets the sky in peach hues. The sky's soft, warm tones are reflected in the river so that were it not for the city in the distance, air and water might be indistinguishable from each other. The old Trocadéro Palace, built for the 1878 World's Fair but later demolished and replaced, can be seen in the distance. Like many artists and photographers, Tanner chose the Seine as the subject of his painting for its natural beauty and picturesque position in the heart of Paris. The dreamlike quality of the painting reflects the artist's attachment to the city.

Henry Ossawa Tanner was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he took a drawing class taught by American painter Thomas Eakins. Although Tanner found some success as a painter in the United States, he left for Europe as a young man to escape racial prejudice and spent most of his professional career in France. Tanner thrived there, exhibiting paintings at the Paris Salon and other expositions.

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