“Were James T. Harwood, Gutzon and Solon Borglum, and Cyrus Dallin members of the Church?” Ensign, Oct. 1990, 52–54
Orvill Paller, genealogist, relative of the Borglum family, and member of the Center Ward, Salt Lake Rose Park Stake. Artist James Harwood and sculptors Gutzon and Solon Borglum and Cyrus Dallin were not members of the Church. However, as children of Latter-day Saint pioneer parents, they had a relationship with the Church that, to some extent, influenced their work.
James Taylor Harwood
Born 8 April 1860 to James and Sarah Jane Taylor Harwood in Lehi, Utah, artist James Taylor Harwood is well known among Latter-day Saints for his paintings of Christ. Adoration of the Ages, an oil painted in 1903, features many people worshipping Jesus throughout the ages. Another oil painting, Come Follow Me, was commissioned by the Sunday School organization of the Church and features Christ beckoning from the shore to two men in a boat.
James Harwood received a name and a blessing at his birth, and while three of his sisters joined the Church, he was never baptized a member of the Church or belonged to any other church except for what he referred to as his “church of one.” Yet he always seemed to have some affection for the Latter-day Saints. In his autobiography, A Basket of Chips, he describes President Heber J. Grant as “a good, kind, appreciative man, [who] was instrumental in the purchase of the rather large oil The Wasatch Range to represent me in the Salt Lake Temple.” He also entitled two of his etchings Eighteenth Ward Chapel by Moonlight and Temple, Tabernacle, and Assembly Hall.
During James Harwood’s teenage years, a fascination with the life of Christ led him to a friendship and apprenticeship with some of Utah’s pioneer artists, including Alfred Lambourne and Dan Weggeland. He furthered his art education in California and in Europe, married Harriet Richards, and had five children. James and Harriet traveled extensively before she died in 1922, after which James returned to Utah to become head of the Art Department at the University of Utah. He later married Ione Godwin, and they had two children.
James Harwood died 16 October 1940 at the age of eighty, leaving a legacy of paintings that Latter-day Saints have found uplifting and inspirational.
Gutzon and Solon Borglum
The sons of Jens Moller Haugaard Borglum and Christina Mikkelsen Borglum, Gutzon and Solon Borglum followed the traditions of their Danish woodcutter father in becoming sculptors. Gutzon was born on 25 March 1867 in Ovid, Bear Lake, Idaho, and is best known for his immortal Mount Rushmore memorial to United States presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt, which Gutzon worked on until his death in 1941. His other famous works include the giant bust of Lincoln found in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C., and a statue of General Philip Sheridan.
Solon Borglum, born 22 December 1868 in Ogden, Utah, achieved eminence with his bronze monument of Confederate General John B. Gordon, unveiled in Atlanta in May 1907, and the bronze memorial Rough Rider, located in Prescott, Arizona, for which he received congratulations from President Teddy Roosevelt. Solon completed more than 135 works of sculpture before his death in 1922.
Although their parents were sealed to each other in the Salt Lake Endowment House on 25 November 1865, the Borglum children never became members of the Church. The family moved from Utah to Nebraska sometime in 1869, and in 1871 Christina’s marriage to Jens was dissolved, after which the family apparently no longer affiliated with the Church.
Gutzon Borglum left home at age fifteen to pursue art studies in Los Angeles and later married one of his art instructors, Elizabeth Jaynes Putnam. They lived abroad while Gutzon studied in Paris and became acquainted with sculptors Rodin and Mercie before returning to California. Gutzon later dissolved his marriage to Elizabeth Putnam and in 1909 married Mary Montgomery, with whom he had three children. He died in Chicago on 6 March 1941, leaving the completion of Mount Rushmore to his son, Lincoln.
Solon Borglum became a cowboy rancher, but he pursued sculpting at Gutzon’s encouragement. The two tried working together in an art studio in California’s Sierra Madres, but Solon eventually left for Los Angeles and, later, in 1895, for the Cincinnati Art Academy in Ohio. Further studies in Paris brought him into contact with Cyrus Dallin, with whom he became good friends, as well as with Emma Vignal, whom he married. The two had three children. Solon Borglum died in 1922 after achieving success in the United States that prompted writer Selen Ayer Armstrong to compare his sculpture to Walt Whitman’s literature.
Born to Thomas and Jane Hamer Allen Dallin in Springville, Utah, on 22 November 1861, Cyrus Dallin was the second of nine children. His sculptures are well known by Latter-day Saints. They include the statue of angel Moroni that stands on top of the Salt Lake Temple and the statue of Brigham Young currently located at the intersections of South Temple and Main streets in Salt Lake City. He also sculpted a statue of Massasoit for the state of Massachusetts, copies of which are found on the Utah State Capitol grounds and at Brigham Young University.
The Dallin family apparently left the Church, and none of the seven Dallin children who lived to adulthood became members, although some of their descendants have joined. But Cyrus Dallin seems to have had a good relationship with the Church. His talent took him to Boston for art studies, and later to Paris. After marrying Vittoria Collona Murray of Massachusetts in 1891, he returned to Salt Lake City, where he stayed until 1894, completing the angel Moroni statue and the Brigham Young monument, among others. He and Vittoria had three sons.
Cyrus Dallin once stated, “I have received two college degrees: Master of Art, and Doctor of Art, besides medals galore, but my greatest honor of all is, ‘I came from Springville, Utah.’” On another occasion, while visiting Salt Lake City in the 1920s, Cyrus stopped at Temple Square, where President Levi Edgar Young of the First Council of the Seventy talked with him. Cyrus said to President Young, “I consider that my Angel Moroni brought me nearer to God than anything else I ever did. It seemed to me that I came to know what it means to commune with angels from heaven.”
Cyrus Dallin died in Arlington, Massachusetts, on 14 November 1944. Like artists Harwood and the Borglum brothers, he left works of art that revere and uphold a monumental past Latter-day Saints and many others cherish.