HENRY OSSAWA TANNER (1859 - 1937) Study for Disciples Healing the Sick.
Oil on thin plywood panel, circa 1930. 267x350 mm; 10 1/2x13 3/4 inches. With the artist's estate ink stamp, and signed by the artist's son Jesse O. Tanner, verso. Also with the artist's estate ink stamp, signed by the artist's son Jesse O. Tanner and stamped "No. 13" in blue ink on the backing paper.
Provenance: the estate of the artist, France; Cordier & Ekstrom Gallery, New York, with the gallery label; private New York collection. The backing paper also has an inventory label of "Pitt & Scott, Ltd., Paris, London, New York, the International Movers" and dated 5/5/69 in ink.
This wonderfully modern and painterly oil is an excellent example of Tanner's late studies for his Biblical scenes. As preliminary works, Tanner experimented in palette, medium and composition in these small scale paintings. His broad brushstrokes and unconventional palette reveal the underlying modernity of his approach to these traditional subjects. There is another oil on wood panel of the same subject in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, entitled He Healed the Sick that is larger (16 1/4x21 1/2 inches) and more resolved. These studies were made in preparation for the much larger painting, Disciples Healing the Sick, circa 1930, 36x48 inches, in the collection of the Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries. According to the Smithsonian, while there are many stories in the Bible in which Christ performs miraculous healings, none quite match this particular scene. Tanner also created this painting after he had recovered from a serious illness, which suggests that the subject had personal meaning for him. Marley p. 250.