African American Art At the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Last night I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for their Art After Five program. I really enjoyed the tour of African American Art.
The Annuniciation 1898 Henry Ossawa Tanner. Tanner was the son of a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. I love this depiction of Mary, it shows her as the young girl she really was, in the clothing of a Middle Eastern peasant. This is one of my favorite paintings because of the way it humanizes Mary.
Face Vessels 1860 to 1870 Attributed to Thomas J. Davies Pottery 1862 - 1870. Nobody knows exactly what these were used for. Some of them were found along the Underground Railroad, indicating that they could have potentially been used as a signpost of some type. They reveal their African influence.
Portrait of the Artist's Mother 1897 Henry Ossawa Tanner. This woman was one of eleven children sent by their mother, a slave, into the Underground Railroad. Tragically, she never saw them again, but she sent them to their freedom. The woman in the portrait looks compassionate and thoughtful.
Portrait of Elizabeth Brown Montier 1841 by Franklin R. Street. Although Franklin Street was not an African American, this painting is one of only a few portraits of African Americans during this time period. The Montiers, living in Philadelphia, belonged to one of the largest and oldest communities of free African Americans in the United States.
John Woodrow Wilson Campesions (Peasants) 1952. African American John Woodrow Wilson felt a connection to the poor indigenous people of Mexico. Notice the emphasis on the size of the hands, indicating that they are manual laborers.
Elizabeth Catlett Mother and Child 1954