The Warner Sallman Collection

Since May of 1987, Anderson University and Warner Press have jointly shared ownership of more than 140 works by Warner Sallman, with Warner Press holding the copyright and distribution rights, while Anderson University possesses the actual paintings and drawings. There are many ways to look at images. We can see them as objects of beauty; as historical artifacts; as mementos; as articles of piety; or as propaganda in the service of an ideology. In one way or another, the images painted by Warner Sallman have been seen in each of these ways. We welcome you to visit the collection.

About Warner Sallman

The Warner Sallman Collection at Anderson University includes oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, pen and ink drawings, and bits of typography produced by Warner Sallman. The collection includes some of the best-known works produced by Sallman, including Head of Christ, Christ at Heart’s Door, Christ in Gethsemane, and The Lord is My Shepherd.

Warner Sallman was born on April 30, 1892, in Chicago. He became interested in art at an early age, and was especially impacted by the religious art of Gustave Dore. Following graduation from high school, he apprenticed in local studios while attending the Chicago Art Institute. After a brief attempt to establish himself in New York, Sallman returned to Chicago and began his career as a commercial artist.

Through the encouragement of a business associate, Sallman enrolled at a Bible school. Sallman recalled a conversation with the dean of the school, Dr. E. O. Sellers, which had an impact on his image of Christ. The dean said, “Sometime I hope you give us your conception of Christ. And I hope it’s a manly one. Most of our pictures today are too effeminate.”

In 1924, Sallman produced a sketch for a magazine cover that portrayed a strong yet serene image of Jesus. This sketch was the basis of what would become Sallman’s most recognizable painting, the Head of Christ, which has been reproduced an estimated 500 million times.

Throughout his career, Sallman produced a wide range of religious imagery, including Christ at Heart’s Door, Christ Our Pilot, and Christ in Gethsemane. He once said of his work, “I give God the glory for whatever has been accomplished by my efforts to bring joy and happiness to people throughout the world.” Sallman died in 1968.

While his art spans the United States, the majority of his original work can be found only in the Scheierman Gallery located in the York Performance Hall at Anderson University, in Anderson, Indiana.

Support the Collection

The legacy of Warner Sallman’s artwork has endured for generations. Join with others to ensure this legacy continues. Your gift will help provide the resources needed for Anderson University to restore and preserve this collection for generations to come. You can give online and indicate your gift to the Warner Sallman Preservation Fund or contact the Office of Advancement for more details.

Visit the Collection

The Scheierman Gallery is located in the York Performance Hall and Galleries on the campus of Anderson University, in Anderson, Indiana.

Tours for the Warner Sallman Collection this summer is by appointment only. Please contact (317) 450-9044 to schedule a visit. Admission is free and open to the public.

Contact Info
Tai Lipan, Gallery Director
(765) 641-4322 ext. 4322
talipan@anderson.edu