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Minerva Teichert exhibition opens in Salt Lake City

Jul 6, 2023, 7:09 PM | Updated: Jul 7, 2023, 2:01 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The artwork of notable Western and Latter-day Saint painter Minerva Teichert is the subject of a new exhibition that opened Thursday at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.

The images are intriguing, the colors bold – it’s art that tells a story. Once you have seen the paintings and murals of Minerva Teichert, you will not forget them.

Riley Lorimer, director of the Church History Museum said, “She worked in a school of art, the muralist school, that was sort of her philosophy of art. And the idea behind it was to tell the most important stories in the most important public buildings.”

Those buildings include temples, tabernacles, meetinghouses, and museums.

Teichert was born in the Utah Territory in 1888. She grew up on an Idaho ranch and studied art in Chicago and New York City under the well-known painter and teacher Robert Henri.

He encouraged her to paint the story of her faith and her people. 

She married a Wyoming rancher and had five children. Art was part of her family life. She painted huge works in her living room. The exhibition includes photos and memorabilia from her home, that recreates where she painted.

Riley Lorimer described the setting where a mural hangs. “Lots of her paintings are these exact dimensions because that is the real estate she had to work with,” Lorimer said.

The exhibition also includes quotes from Teichert.

“Unless I can paint a little each day on the great pageant of the West, I think the day is lost.” — Minerva Teichert

For the first time, the public can see copies of her murals which are painted on the walls inside the Manti, Utah Temple. That temple is under renovation right now. When the renovation was announced, Latter-day Saints in the temple district and beyond requested that Church leaders preserve those murals.

Conservation is part of this exhibition. It includes some of the work “Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood.” It was all but destroyed in 2010, in the Provo Tabernacle fire.

That loss prompted protection for Minerva Teichert’s legacy. Carrie Snow is a manager of collections care at the Church History Museum. “Her paintings now are a hundred years old, in many cases, and so we’re just trying to make sure that her message and her vision and her unique talent can continue to be shared with the public,” she said.

All 45 paintings in the show have been restored. Laura Paulsen Howe, a curator at Church History Museum said, “A lot of them are cleaned for the first time in 50 years, and it’s wonderful just to have those colors pop!”

The exhibition includes her works that envision scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, Church History and the Restoration, and the Latter-day gathering in the West, which includes her depictions of Indigenous peoples.

Howe believes visitors will see all aspects of Teichert’s art in this exhibition. “We hope as people walk through, that they can feel the sincerity of that faith and know what was important to Minerva and her heart,” Howe said.

The artist once said to paint something it must be either very beautiful or an important story.

“With This Covenant in My Heart: The Art and Faith of Minerva Teichert” is on exhibit at the Church History Museum through August 3, 2024.

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Minerva Teichert exhibition opens in Salt Lake City