Post-Depression Era Dresser, featuring artwork by Henry Ossawa Tanner


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As with all my pieces, I want them to tell a story. I spend many hours scouring the internet, art catalogues etc in search of paintings that draw me in on an emotional level. The particular painting is by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1894) titled ‘The Thankful Poor”. It’s a beautiful depiction of a photograph he had taken in Atlanta of a grandfather and his grandson, a few years prior. The image moved me incredibly because it shows the generational connection that we have with our elders; and the feeling is one of quiet dignity. It’s one of those images that you immediately want to put your hand over your heart, and feel gratitude.

The dresser was probably made during the post-depression era; and so it has a few nicks and dents, a small area of missing molding. My main goal before starting to paint a piece of furniture is that I want to make it look as though I never touched it. I want it to look as though it has always been this way, and so I embrace the flaws – the evidence of time spent. My mission in all of my creations is to create pieces of furniture that when you walk into a room it either starts or stops a conversation. 

The piece itself came about very effortlessly, and trust me, I love when that happens. I worked with a very neutral palette: Soft browns, warm yellows to compliment the artwork. I think the painting is very quiet in tone, but deep in meaning; it encompasses generational love, family, faith, prayer – all the intangible things that brings purpose to our lives. And out of respect, the focus needed to be on the love between the two figures, leaving the body of the piece to recede into the background.  The trim work is finished in a tarnished gold leaf, again to shown authentic age and the passing of time. 

I’m most proud of this piece because it helps continue the narrative to our generation about the lessons learned from the past. There is a certain quiet grace that can only be shared between loved ones, the passing of the baton between the generations, the need to worship together and feel gratitude for the now – to be thankful and to give thanks. I hope with this piece I have been able to continue to convey Mr. Tanner’s gift of evoking emotion – to continue the path of telling meaningful stories. 

As always, thanks for stopping by!
Diane aka The Paint Factory


*Local pickup from Portland, Oregon is greatly appreciated. However, if you need shipping, please message me and I’ll be happy to find you a reasonable shipping rate. Shipping is not included in the listing price.
Measures are: 51″H x 20″D x 38″W.

All of my pieces are truly one-of-a-kind. The process to adhere the images on to the piece of furniture is an intricate and time-consuming process. I do not work with decoupage papers or rub-on transfers; my preferred technique involves transferring only the pigment of the image on to carefully multi-layered surfaces resulting in a finish that reflects an authentic aged appearance.









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