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La Salle News

September 19, 2011

Two of La Salle University Art Museum’s Most Revered Paintings to Be Loaned for Special Exhibitions

Time is running out to view two of La Salle University Art Museum’s most revered paintings on campus for a while. Hubert Robert’s The Tomb of Virgil at Posilipo, Naples, and Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Mary will be on loan for special exhibitions beginning this fall.

Robert’s 1784 The Tomb of Virgil at Posilipo, Naples will leave La Salle’s Art Museum in early October to be included in a special exhibition at the Palazzo Te in Mantua, Italy. The painting will return to La Salle’s campus after the exhibition closes in January 2012.

Robert’s 1784 The Tomb of Virgil at Posilipo, Naples

Tanner’s 1898 Mary will be on view at La Salle’s Art Museum until November 10, 2011. The painting will be part of a Tanner exhibition by Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia. Mary will then be on view at PAFA from January 28 to April 15, 2012 before the exhibition travels for stops in Cincinnati and Houston. The painting will return to La Salle’s campus in January 2013.

Tanner’s 1898 Mary

“These loans allow the paintings to be re-contextualized within exhibitions that present the public with exciting new information, interpretations, and art historical discoveries,” said Klare Scarborough, Ph.D., Director and Chief Curator of the La Salle University Art Museum. “The loans serve the Art Museum’s mission of educational engagement in the Lasallian tradition. The paintings will be seen by people who might never have the opportunity to visit La Salle’s campus.”

It is widely reported that Robert was born Robert Hubert and was imprisoned during the French Revolution but escaped the guillotine by reversing the order of his names. Like many 18th-century artists, Robert sought the sights of Italy for instruction and inspiration and studied at the French Academy in Rome. It is believed that The Tomb of Virgil at Posilipo, Naples was created from a sketching trip to southern Italy and Sicily.

Tanner was one of America’s outstanding African-American painters. Born in 1859 in Pittsburgh, he studied in Philadelphia with Thomas Eakins, but spent most of his career in Paris. He was famous for two very different kinds of paintings—genre scenes of African-American family life and scenes from the Old and New Testaments. For Mary, Tanner used the traditional subjects of Mary and a child Jesus in an unusual way by presenting Mary seated on the floor of a Palestinian adobe room. Her gaze is fixed on her son, lying completely covered on the floor beside her.The La Salle University Art Museum is located on the lower level of Olney Hall on La Salle’s campus. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and weekends by appointment. Admission is free, though donations are accepted.