410-547-9000, ext. 277
Baltimore—The Walters Art Museum will offer visitors many opportunities to get into the holiday spirit this season, including a rare chance to view the Henry Ossawa Tanner painting, The Three Wise Men (1925). To spread holiday cheer, the museum will be decorated in seasonal fashion by members of the museum’s Women’s Committee, and a special focus show about The Christmas Story will be on display.
The Three Wise Men was last seen in the 1991 major national touring exhibition, Henry Ossawa Tanner, organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Tanner (1859–1937), a painter of religious subjects, genre scenes and portraits, is recognized as the first African-American painter to receive international acclaim. During the holiday season, this painting will be on loan to the Walters from the private collection of Baltimore philanthropists, business and civic leaders Eddie and C. Sylvia Brown.
“We are committed to making the arts of African-Americans more accessible and available to the citizens of Baltimore and are thrilled and honored that visitors to the Walters, during the holiday season, will get to enjoy The Three Wise Men as much as we do,” said the Browns.
Trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts by acclaimed artist Thomas Eakins, Tanner spent most of his life in Europe, ultimately settling in France, where he pursued his artistic ideals without the racial pressures prevalent in the United States at the turn of the century. The Three Wise Men is typical of Tanner’s focus on the biblical and religious themes for which he is so well known. The 1925 painting is a re-working of a subject which Tanner had painted as early as 1908. It is characteristic of his loose technique, featuring a palette dominated by luminous blues and greens that he used during this point in his career. As the son of a bishop in the African-American Methodist Church, The Three Wise Men is a stunning example of his preoccupation with the evocative power of the biblical stories. It can be viewed on the fourth floor in the museum’s 19th-century galleries.
Museum visitors will also be able to pick up a guide to other artworks in the Walters’ galleries that feature the wise men or adoration of the shepherds. The Christmas Story: Picturing the Birth of Christ in Medieval Manuscripts will be on view in the museum’s manuscript gallery Dec. 3, 2009–Feb. 28, 2010, and will feature the famous illuminated manuscript known as the Cornaro Missal, on loan from a private American collection. For children and families, the Walters will feature drop-in art activities in the Family Art Center during Winter Break Week, Dec. 26, 2009–Jan. 1, 2010.
Admission and Hours
Admission to the museum is free. Hours are Wednesday–Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum is located in Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District at North Charles and Centre streets and is one of only a few museums worldwide to present a comprehensive history of art from the third millennium B.C. to the early 20th century. Among its thousands of treasures, the Walters holds the finest collection of ivories, jewelry, enamels and bronzes in America and a spectacular reserve of illuminated manuscripts and rare books. The Walters’ Egyptian, Greek and Roman, Byzantine, Ethiopian and western medieval art collections are among the best in the nation, as are the museum’s holdings of Renaissance and Asian art. Every major trend in French painting during the 19th century is represented by one or more works in the Walters’ collection.
Peabody Court is the official hotel of the Walters Art Museum. This historic property is just around the corner from the museum and features George’s, a full-service restaurant. For hotel reservations, call 1-800-292-5500 and ask for the special Walters discounted rate.
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