The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full report, CLICK HERE.
Photo: A black and white photograph of Minerva Teichert riding a horse on Jan. 2, 1908. Credit: L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Wikimedia Commons
Early in her career, Minerva Teichert studied drawing and portraiture under Robert Henri in New York City. As she completed her training, Henri asked her if any artist had told “the great Mormon story.” Teichert said, “Not to suit me.”
Henri paused and said, “That’s your birthright. You feel it. You’ll do well.” In an unpublished manuscript, Teichert recorded this experience and wrote, “I felt that I had been commissioned.”
A Latter-day Saint artist from a homestead in Idaho, Teichert later went on to create paintings that have been featured in church magazines and manuals and hung on the walls of chapels. Best known for her mural in the Manti Utah Temple, Teichert created many iconic Latter-day Saint paintings of pioneers, Book of Mormon events and Jesus Christ.
Not long after getting married, her husband, Herman Teichert, was stationed in France during World War I. While he was away, Minerva Teichert grew ill with influenza. She realized how ill she was and, reflecting on that experience, she wrote, “Suddenly I was keenly sensitive. I promised the Lord if I’d finished my work and he’d give me some work, I’d gladly do it. With this covenant in my heart I began to live.”
Herman Teichert returned to the United States after the war and their little family moved out West to a cattle ranch in Wyoming, where Minerva Teichert made her studio. The studio was nestled in the same room where the family cooked and ate their meals and read scriptures and literature together.
Influenced by her teacher and famous portraitist Henri, Teichert used large brushes and loose strokes in her art. She incorporated her training in figure drawings to keep the people in her paintings recognizable.
Teichert’s paintings often had Western themes. She became a skilled mural painter and portrayed events from Latter-day Saint history and scriptures. Teichert created a series of paintings depicting the Latter-day Saint pioneers, which were a collision of Western themes with the story of her faith. These pioneer paintings were revolutionary because they depicted women in powerful ways, often as the primary subjects of the paintings.
Her pioneer paintings included a wide range of imagery, from the “Miracle of the Gulls” experience to Brigham Young and his handcart company entering the Salt Lake Valley. These pioneer paintings were not only mural-like in style, but also in size.
One of Teichert’s most famous paintings was a portrait of Queen Esther from the Hebrew Bible. This painting includes one of Teichert’s characteristic borders, which mimics a mural style. Her broad brush-strokes create hazy figures in the background, with Esther as the prominent figure of the painting.
To read the full report, CLICK HERE.