April 11: Art tour

Alumna invites Blue Hens to insider viewing of Tanner exhibition

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1:41 p.m., March 21, 2012--University of Delaware alumni in Philadelphia are invited to a private tour of the exhibition Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit, which is on view at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on the evening of Wednesday, April 11.

The insider tour will be led by Anna Marley, curator of the exhibition and a 2009 UD doctoral graduate, and Camara Holloway, assistant professor in UD's Department of Art History.

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The program is a collaboration between UD's Friends of Art History, the Office of Alumni Relations and the UD Philadelphia Alumni Club. It is part of a series of cultural events launched by the Friends of Art History to introduce the UD community to the work of its art historians.

The New York Times has described Marley’s retrospective of H.O. Tanner’s career as a “historically gripping exhibition.”  Tanner was the first African-American artist to receive international acclaim for works that included portraiture, genre and modern interpretations of biblical subjects and orientalist scenes from North Africa and the Holy Land. 

The exhibition traces the Philadelphia-born artist’s life and career from his studies with Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to his success as an expatriate artist in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. 

Marley trained in the Department of Art History as a specialist in late 18th and early 19th century American art.  While at UD, she received a research assistantship from the Office of the Provost that offered her the opportunity to do research in the area of African American art.  This assistantship culminated in the exhibition The Art of Edward L. Loper, Sr.: On the Path of the Masters for the University Museums.

Marley said she believes that “it was this combined experience of academic research and hands on curatorship that propelled me to my current position as curator of historical American art at PAFA and allowed me to successfully curate Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit. I am proud to share this exhibition, the largest and most comprehensive show of Tanner’s work to date, with the Blue Hen community.”

Marley and Holloway are strengthening existing ties between the University and PAFA that benefit current curators-in-training.  This semester, Holloway designed a graduate seminar centering on the exhibition. “It is a real pleasure to see our alumni flourishing in important positions in the art world," Holloway said. "Anna Marley has produced an exhibition that makes a tremendous contribution to art history. I look forward to sharing our experiences and insights with a larger audience at this alumni event in Philadelphia.”

The Friends of Art History is a volunteer-driven association of UD art history alumni, and anyone interested in the arts more generally, as a way to stay in touch, exchange ideas and, importantly, to help support the department. To learn more about becoming a member, visit the website.

The April 11 program will begin at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a private wine and cheese reception in the Sculpture Studies Center of the Hamilton Building. For further information and to register for the event, visit the Alumni Relations website.

The Department of Art History is also sponsoring a colloquium on May 16 to share research based on graduate students’s study of the Tanner exhibition. Marley and Brian Baade, painting conservator and UD instructor, will make presentations, along with graduate students Katrina Greene and Rachel Zimmerman. The program will begin at 6 p.m. Gore Hall on the UD campus in Newark. The event is free and open to the public.

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