Artwork of the Week: February 21, 2021
Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), At the Gates (Flight into Egypt), c.1926-1927, oil on panel, 26 11/16 x 19 1/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Stanford C. Stoddard, 2019.
In Honor of Black History Month
This beautiful nocturne is a significant work and one of Tanner’s later interpretations of his important series of paintings depicting the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt. At the time of Tanner’s second trip to the Holy Land, in 1898-99, Tanner began painting his interpretation of the Biblical story. It soon became a favorite subject of the artist – a depiction of the Mary, Jesus and Joseph escaping on a donkey under the cover of night.
Tanner was an African American artist who achieved international status, largely due to his powerful and insightful religious imagery. Due to his unprecedented success, Tanner became a beacon of hope and inspiration among African American leaders and young artists. Despite his achievements, Tanner chose to live the later decades of his life in France, where he felt his race mattered less to artists and critics.