‘200 Years of African American Art’ at Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art says that its purchase of Henry Ossawa Tanner’s 1898 “Annunciation” was the first piece by an African American artist to be acquired by a major American museum. Tanner’s dramatic painting, in which a slightly disheveled and fretful Mary cowers before an angelic apparition, is one of the key works in the museum’s “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art.”

The exhibition, which opened Saturday, is smaller than its grand title would suggest and has a bit of a Black History Month feel: a well-intentioned institutional effort meant to demonstrate to local audiences a commitment to diversity, but derived from the museum’s collection and relegated to a relatively small, temporary gallery. But as you dig into it, and begin tracing the connections between its works, the show gathers force. In the century and more since the 1899 acquisition of the Tanner,

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/200-years-of-african-american-art-at-philadelphia-museum-of-art/2015/01/13/5f3f03ac-9b44-11e4-bcfb-059ec7a93ddc_story.html

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