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Henry Ossawa Tanner

Oil portrait with man in suit, dim green background.

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  • Oil portrait with man in suit, dim green background.




Hermann Dudley Murphy
American, 1867–1945

About this artwork

This portrait of Henry Ossawa Tanner, an African American painter who achieved international renown, was painted by his friend and roommate Hermann Dudley Murphy during their student days in Paris. Although both received traditional artistic training at the city’s academies, they were particularly drawn to the modernist techniques of James McNeill Whistler. Murphy employed a thin, almost transparent application of paint and a muted palette of gray and green. The asymmetrical composition and colophon signature likewise evoke Whistler’s style as well as his interest in Japanese art.


On View, Gallery 273


Arts of the Americas


Hermann Dudley Murphy


Henry Ossawa Tanner


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

c. 1891–1896


Oil on canvas


Signed, lower left, with monogram Inscribed on reverse: "Hermann Dudley Murphy / 18 M 96 / Portrait of / Henry Ossawa Tanner / Salon of the / Champs de Mars 1896"


73 × 50.2 cm (28 3/4 × 19 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Friends of American Art Collection

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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