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The Arch

Henry Ossawa Tanner

American Art

On View: American Identities: A New Look, American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Beyond Borders and Boundaries, 20th and 21st Centuries, 5th Floor
In this monochromatic composition, the prominent African American painter Henry Ossawa Tanner recorded the Celebration of the Dead, held on July 13, 1919, in Paris, to honor those who died defending France in World War I. Visible through the Arc de Triomphe is the temporary cenotaph, or empty tomb, erected for the event.

Tanner had based his reputation on realistically rendered biblical paintings, and he rarely executed present-day subjects such as this one. Although a native of Philadelphia, he was inspired to commemorate this solemn event, having lived in France since the turn of the century.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1919
DIMENSIONS 39 1/4 x 38 3/16 in. (99.7 x 97 cm) Frame: 42 7/8 x 42 x 2 5/8 in. (108.9 x 106.7 x 6.7 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS Incised lower left: "H.O. TANNER"
SIGNATURE Signed lower left: "H.O. TANNER / PARIS July 13 191[9]"
CREDIT LINE Gift of Alfred W. Jenkins
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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CAPTION Henry Ossawa Tanner (American, 1859-1937). The Arch, 1919. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 38 3/16 in. (99.7 x 97 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Alfred W. Jenkins, 32.10
IMAGE overall, 32.10_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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