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SALT LAKE CITY -- Hundreds gathered Friday night to pay tribute at a public viewing for Arnold Friberg, one of America's most famous artists.
Friberg's casket was placed in what's called the Friberg Gallery on the second floor of the LDS Conference Center. Those in attendance passed by several of Friberg's famous paintings.
"There's a sacred, spiritual side to all of his pictures, and they have always meant a lot to us, so we came as a reminder of what he means to us," said Sandy resident Julie Emmer.
Friberg's family members have received condolences from thousands.
"This has been in the newspapers all over the world, and we've just received the most heartwarming stories from people -- how his work has inspired them," said Jayna Fribeg Cleamons, Arnold Friberg's daughter.
Family members also welcomed some special guests at Friday's viewing.
Representatives of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police traveled to Salt Lake to pay tribute to Friberg. He created a series of 300 paintings of the Mounties, and they made him an honorary member -- the only American who has that honor.
"He made us a little bit bigger than we really are, but our stories and what we do in the north, and what we do throughout Canada, are big," said Bob Pilot Sr., retired member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
His thought was, ‘I'm going to make them like heroes. They need to inspire these children to read these scriptures.' Little did he know the impact that those 12 paintings would have on generations to come.
–Jayna Friberg Cleamons
The Friberg Gallery houses the artist's 12 Book of Mormon paintings, which he did in the 1950s by commission from then-General Primary President Adele Cannon Howells. She wanted the images to be published in the faith's children's magazine "The Friend."
Friberg hoped to inspire many with his work; his daughter says he did.
"His thought was, ‘I'm going to make them like heroes. They need to inspire these children to read these scriptures.' Little did he know the impact that those 12 paintings would have on generations to come," Cleamons said.
Of course, Friberg is best known for his "Prayer at Valley Forge" painting of Gen. George Washington, which is now housed at the Valley Forge National Historic Park. Friberg donated it in hopes that funds would be raised to build a museum there.
There were also several famous paintings Friberg created for Hollywood.
Cecil B. DeMille, arguably Hollywood's greatest director, hired Friberg to paint key scenes for his film "The Ten Commandments." Friberg became the film's art director and costume designer. He received an Academy Award nomination for costume design.
Friberg's funeral will take place Saturday morning at 11:00 in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. He will then be buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.