1859 – Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the 21st of June.
1864 -Tanner and his family moved to Philadelphia, where his artistic interests developed. At the age of thirteen, Tanner decided to become an artist when he saw a painter in Fairmount Park near his home.
1879-1885 – Tanner enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and studied under Thomas Eakins.
1886 – Tanner opened his own studio in Philadelphia. After moving to Atlanta and failing in an attempt to open a photography studio, Tanner taught drawing at Clark University.
1891 – Tanner traveled to France, where he studied under Jean-Paul Laurens at the Academie Julian and joined the American Art Students Club of Paris.
1893 – Tanner painted "The Banjo Lesson", a high point in his initial period of genre paintings featuring African Americans.
1895 – He moved back to Paris in 1895 in an effort to escape racial discrimination in America.
1896 – Tanner drew upon his religious background and turned increasingly to biblical subjects, such as "Daniel in the Lion’s Den", which won honorable mention at the Paris Salon.
1937 – Tanner died in Paris, France onthe 25th of May.