The Warner Sallman Collection

Category: Personal Stories

A lasting impression

by Lorna Nau

My grandmother had a huge painting of “Jesus at the door” hung in her bedroom where as a child I would take a nap. It drew me to Christ. Today, at the age of 67, I found a copy by Kriebel & Bates circa 1942 at a thrift store. Not as big as Nana’s, but at a young age who could tell how big it really was! However it certainly made a lasting impression on me. I had never seen the heart until you mentioned it!

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First day of school

by Julie Gilleand

I was 4 years old when I first remember seeing Sallman’s Head of Christ painting. Of course I didn’t know that was the name of it. I only knew it was a picture of Jesus and probably thought it was an actual picture of him! It was at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church a few blocks from my house. My mother had enrolled me in nursery school there and it was my first day. Naturally I was scared. Strange people and surroundings in a place I’d never been. My parents had never yet left me anywhere other than my grandparents’ houses. Oh, how I cried and wailed as my mother walked away and tried to run after her, but was held back. I seem to recall being told to sit on the bench in the foyer beneath that painting until I settled down. It’s all a very faded memory now after nearly 50 years, but what I do remember well is that this painting of Jesus, with the warm glow on his face and the gentle, kind eyes comforted me and made me feel safe, as if everything would be okay. And of course it was. But I have held that particular depiction of Jesus with all its kindness and warmth in my heart all these years. None other has affected me so wonderfully and powerfully as this one.

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A shelter from the storm

by Cora Holmes

My late husband, Milton Holmes, owned and operated Chernofski Sheep Ranch on Unalaska Island in the Bering Sea. During the 1970s he was oftentimes alone on the vast ranch. In one of these solitary stints a fishing vessel sought out Chernofski Harbor for protection against a violent storm. Milton invited the crew ashore to share a meal and news of the outside world. After the visitors returned to their boat the skipper returned with the framed picture, Christ Our Pilot, painted on Masonite and signed Sallman, 1950. he said, “You need this more than I do.” For the next 30 years that picture has graced a wall in our house.

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