Henry Ossawa Tanner's The Young Sabot Maker depicts a man and boy, likely a father and son, carving traditional (sabots) wooden shoes in Brittany, France. Such images of rural folk engaged in old customs were popular in the fast-changing world of the late 19th century. Tanner's painting also evokes Christian associations as, according to biblical tradition, carpentry was the trade of Joseph, Jesus' father. Fittingly, Tanner presented the painting as a gift to his mother and his father, Benjamin Tanner, who, for a time, served as bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Kansas.

Tanner studied in his native Philadelphia with Thomas Eakins. He subsequently trained and remained in Paris, where he encountered less racial prejudice.


  • Title: The Young Sabot Maker
  • Creator: Henry Ossawa Tanner
  • Date Created: 1895
  • Physical Dimensions: Unframed: 47 3/8 x 35 3/8 inches (120.33 x 89.85 cm) Framed: 59 1/4 × 47 1/4 × 5 1/2 inches (150.5 × 120.02 × 13.97 cm)
  • Rights: Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust through the George H. and Elizabeth O. Davis Fund and partial gift of an anonymous donor
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Culture: American

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps