Indianapolis native William Scott studied in France with the celebrated African American artist Henry O. Tanner.
Etaples, Tanner’s summer residence, was the subject of several of Scott’s paintings.
Tanner’s influence is evident in the blue-green palette, subdued tonality and dramatic light.
William Edouard Scott and Henry Ossawa Tanner
Indianapolis native William Edouard Scott was a graduate of Emmerich Manual Training High School and briefly attended Saturday school at the John Herron Art Institute. He became the first African American to teach in the Indianapolis Public Schools. He studied first at the Art Institute of Chicago and then, in France. Though a versatile painter, Scott was primarily known as a muralist. His murals can be found in numerous buildings, including schools, government buildings, funeral homes, and churches. He traveled to Haiti to paint the region.
Shortly after Scott arrived in France in 1909, the celebrated African American expatriate artist, Henry Ossawa Tanner, invited him to stay at his summer home in Normandy. A few years later, Scott depicted the area around Tanner’s home in Rainy Night, Étaples. Tanner’s influence is evident in the painting’s blue-green palette, subdued tonality, and dramatic lighting. The loosely brushed, spontaneous composition demonstrates the restrained impressionist technique that dominated Scott’s European work. The building in the painting was identified as the town hall in Étaples, France.