Historic Teichert Paintings Have New Home

  By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 22 December 2012

A Minerva Teichert (1888–1976) work of art named A Refreshing Respite from the Wagon Train, completed in 1955.  Image courtesy of BYU Museum of Art.

Article Highlights

  • The donated works depicting Native Americans, cowboys, and pioneers have been included in the museum’s current exhibit “People in a Hard Land: Iconic Images of Life in the Southwest.”
  • BYU now owns 92 paintings and 67 sketches by Minerva Teichert.
  • The new paintings were donated by the Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation of Orange, Texas.

It’s been almost four decades since Minerva Teichert’s death—but the works of the renowned Latter-day Saint artist remain as recognizable and ubiquitous as ever. Her instantly recognizable paintings can be found adorning the walls of temples, on the covers of Church magazines and lesson manuals, and hanging in several prominent museums.

There is something in Sister Teichert’s dignified depictions of her subjects from the Book of Mormon and the American West that continues to appeal. 

Counted among the many museums who value her work is the Brigham Young University Museum of the Art. The school began collecting Sister Teichert’s paintings in the 1930s. Curators at the school are celebrating a historic augmentation to their Teichert collection. On December 7 the Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation of Orange, Texas, donated 11 mural-sized Minerva Teichert paintings to the Museum of Art, becoming the third largest gift of art in its history.

The museum “is honored to be chosen by the Stark Foundation as the permanent home for these 11 wonderful paintings,” said curator Paul Anderson in a museum release. “Minerva Teichert paintings are admired and appreciated in our community. These works will be displayed and cherished here for generations to come.”

The donated works depict Native Americans, cowboys, and pioneers and have been included in the museum’s ongoing exhibit “People in a Hard Land: Iconic Images of Life in the Southwest.” The school now owns 92 paintings and 67 sketches by Sister Teichert.

H. J. Lutcher Stark was a Texas industrialist and oilman who enjoyed collecting Sister Teichert’s depiction of the American West to tack to the walls of his cabin homes, according to the museum.

Marian Wardle, a museum curator and a granddaughter of Sister Teichert, noted that the celebrated artist painted many of her familiar religious works while associated with her Salt Lake City agent, Alice Merril Horne.

“Even her western works from that period depicted an LDS view of Native Americans based on teachings in the Book of Mormon,” she said. “But later in her career when she started selling her work through Edith Murrell of Laramie, Wyoming, Teichert’s new audience expected a different kind of Native American or Western image—the kind that was seen in the cinema.”

The popular BYU-MOA is located on the Church-owned school’s Provo, Utah, campus and is the most attended university art museum in North America. Call 801-422-8287 for more information.