Strokes of a Genius

Hill District native Henry Ossawa Tanner's paintings are displayed in the White House and locally at Carnegie Museum of Art.



Henry Ossawa Tanner's "The Banjo Lesson"

Celebrate African-American History Month with a trip to the Carnegie in Oakland to view paintings by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), one of America’s first highly acclaimed black painters.

Tanner was born in the Hill District to Benjamin Tucker, a Methodist Episcopal minister, and Sarah Tanner, a runaway slave. When he was 20, Tanner enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, which was pioneering a realistic approach in American art.

Although he is most famous for “The Banjo Lesson,” a painting of an elderly black musician teaching a small boy to strum a banjo, which is now on display at Hampton University Museum, Tanner made relatively few works depicting the African-American experience. More typical are landscape scenes, such as “Sand Dunes at Sunset, Atlantic City,” which hangs in the White House.

Tanner also created many religious-themed paintings, including “Christ at Home of Mary and Martha,” which is on display at Carnegie Museum of Art and is an example of Tanner’s ability to combine the sacred and the ordinary. (Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. $15; seniors, $12; students and children, $11; members and children under 3, free. Info: cmoa.org)

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Your 10 best bets for this month.
Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Peers, players, and regular observers know him to be one of the best coaches — and people — in college basketball.
15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

From east to west — and north and south — these are the region’s salons and services that make our cut. Having a good hair day doesn’t have to be so difficult after all.
Home of the Year: 2015

Home of the Year: 2015

This year’s selections include a Richland Township house built to appreciate its 160-acre lot and Shadyside garage that was renovated into a stunning, modern dream home.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

5 Classic Pittsburghers Still Popular on YouTube

5 Classic Pittsburghers Still Popular on YouTube

From Fred Rogers to Pittsburgh traffic cop Vic Cianca, these 'Burghers are fun to watch and remember.
Comic Aaron Kleiber to Headline at the Pittsburgh Improv

Comic Aaron Kleiber to Headline at the Pittsburgh Improv

Grab tickets now for next weekend's four-day run.
See the Resume Tape That Landed Sally Wiggin in Pittsburgh

See the Resume Tape That Landed Sally Wiggin in Pittsburgh

Wiggin is celebrating 35 years on Pittsburgh television.
14 Life-Changing Home Products for 2015

14 Life-Changing Home Products for 2015

Home expert Boyce Thompson previews this year's Duquesne Light Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show and speculates on which products will become fully integrated into our homes soon.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Your 10 best bets for this month.
Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Peers, players, and regular observers know him to be one of the best coaches — and people — in college basketball.
15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

From east to west — and north and south — these are the region’s salons and services that make our cut. Having a good hair day doesn’t have to be so difficult after all.
Home of the Year: 2015

Home of the Year: 2015

This year’s selections include a Richland Township house built to appreciate its 160-acre lot and Shadyside garage that was renovated into a stunning, modern dream home.
Preserving August Wilson's Voice

Preserving August Wilson's Voice

Todd Kreidler, who helped to conceive the Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright’s final written work, returns to Pittsburgh to direct that play, continuing his mission to keep the master’s words alive.
Review: Tender Bar + Kitchen

Review: Tender Bar + Kitchen

Lawrenceville hot spot Tender, once favored primarily for its libations, now is known as well for its culinary offerings.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module