Art Van Furniture will sell itself to a private equity firm after 58 years of ownership by its founder.

The Warren-based retailer announced this morning a tentative deal to sell to Thomas H. Lee Partners, a private equity firm in Boston. The deal is slated to close in February; the sale price was not disclosed.

Art Van Furniture was started in 1959 with a single store on Gratiot Avenue in what is now Eastpointe. Founder Art Van Elslander has remained the chairman and sole shareholder of the furniture and bedding company.

Today Art Van is one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the country with more than 100 stores in five states, a franchising program and over 3,500 employees. The company’s current executive team will stay on after the sale, including Art Van CEO Kim Yost, president Gary Van Elslander and David Van Elslander, the president of Art Van PureSleep.

“I am proud of Art Van Furniture’s history and what we have accomplished,” Art Van Elslander said in a statement. “The time for an ownership transition is right and the opportunity presented itself. There is still much I want to do, and I feel confident knowing the company and its people will be in the very best of hands for continued growth and success.”

Although private equity deals sometimes entail cost-cutting moves and store closures, Art Van’s future owner is actually planing to keep expanding the retailer’s store count and employees, said Gary Van Elslander, the eldest of Art Van Elslander’s 10 children.

“The trajectory is going to continue to be upward, and maybe even at a faster pace,” Gary Van Elslander said.

Jeff Swenson, managing director at Thomas H. Lee Partners, said his firm will help move Art Van Furniture into its next growth phase.

“Over nearly six decades, the company has continuously realized Mr. Van’s vision and set the standard for excellence in furniture retail in the Midwest,” Swenson said in the announcement. “We look forward to working with the entire team at Art Van as we continue to aggressively grow this outstanding brand.”

Thomas H. Lee Partners was started in 1974 and has acquired several hundred companies through the years, mostly in consumer goods, health care and financial services. Its current companies include Snapple, Dunkin’ Donuts, Safelite Glass and MoneyGram.

More details of the pending sale and future plans for Art Van are expected this afternoon.