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Study for the Young Sabot Maker

ca. 1895 Henry Ossawa Tanner Born: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1859 Died: Paris, France 1937 oil on canvas 16 1/4 x 13 in. (41.3 x 33.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Robbins 1983.95.208 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 10B

Luce Center Label

After Henry Ossawa Tanner moved to France in 1891, he spent a few summers in Pont-Aven and Concarneau, where wooden shoes called sabots were common. This study shows a young student learning the trade from his teacher, a frequent theme in Tanner’s early work. In the final painting the young sabot-maker is not French but African American, reflecting Tanner’s own racial heritage. The Young Sabot Maker was his second painting to be accepted by the annual Paris exhibition, a coveted sign of official recognition from the French art establishment.


Figure group - male and child

Figure male - child

Occupation - craft - shoemaker


paint - oil

fabric - canvas