Harry Roseland

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The Blessing by Harry Roseland

Harry Herman Roseland (c. 1867—1950) was one of the most notable painters of the genre painting school[1][2] around the turn of the 20th century. An American, Roseland was primarily known for paintings centered on poor African-Americans.[3]

Roseland was largely self-taught, and never traveled to Europe to study art, as did many of the American artists of his time.[4] However, he did receive instruction from John Bernard Whittaker and later, James Carroll Beckwith.[5] One of his most popular subjects were his paintings of black women fortune tellers who read the palms and tea leaves of white women clients.[6] These paintings were widely reproduced during the early 20th century in the form of postcard sets and large full-colour prints that were distributed as Sunday supplements in newspapers. While known most for his paintings of African Americans, his work encompassed many genres, including seascapes and portraits. He also gained renown for his paintings of laborers in the coastal areas of New England and New York and his many interior paintings.

Roseland was born and lived his entire life in Brooklyn. He was a member of the Salmagundi Club[7] and the Brooklyn Society of Artists;[2] in the latter organization he was a member of the executive board.[8]

Oprah Winfrey has stated that her favorite painting in her personal collection is Roseland's 1904 work, To the Highest Bidder.[9] This painting, which unlike most of Roseland's pieces is actually a pre-Civil War scene, depicts a mother and daughter who are about to be separated by a slave auction.


Roseland won many awards in his lifetime. These include gold medals from the Brooklyn Art Club (1888), the Boston Art Club (1904), and the American Art Society in Philadelphia (1907). Roseland received many other medals and awards as well.[10]


  1. ^ "ART / 4 / 2DAY".
  2. ^ a b "The American Magazine of Art".
  3. ^ http://www.ajronline.org/cgi/reprint/158/5/970.pdf[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Harry Roseland".
  5. ^ "Harry Roseland - Questroyal".
  6. ^ "Harry Roseland, the Black Fortune Teller, the Mammy, and La Madama". The Mystic Tea Room. mystictearoom.com. 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  7. ^ http://www.fineoldart.com/browse_by_essay.html?essay=427
  8. ^ "Year-book of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences".
  9. ^ "Google Image Result".
  10. ^ "Harry Roseland". Pierce Galleries, Inc.

External links[edit]

Media related to Harry Roseland at Wikimedia Commons