PROVO — A significant collection from LDS artist Minerva Teichert has been donated to BYU.
Unlike her paintings of scenes from the Book of Mormon or Mormon Pioneers, this mural-size art is part of a private collection that until recently was never displayed in public.
Teichert's daughter Laurie Teichert Eastwood, now in her late 80's, fondly remembers those days when her mother painted these images of the American West. She says her mother always researched her subject, before ever picking up a paintbrush.
"She knew that they wanted to know their history and she worked the history out before she painted it," Teichert Eastwood said.
Teichert's western themes caught the attention of H.J. Stark, a Texas millionaire in the 1950's.
"He was an avid collector of western art and he had a ranch in Colorado," said Sarah Hoehme, managing director of the Stark Museum of Art. "That's how he encountered the art of Minerva Teichert."
But for decades, the art was kept in a remote cabin and never put in a frame.
"What he did was tack them to the wall of his cabin," said Mark Magleby, director of the BYU Museum of Art. "It was very rustic."
In the past decade, the collection was displayed at the Stark Museum of Art in Texas. In recent years, a couple of the paintings were loaned to BYU.
Marian Wardle, curator at the BYU Museum of Art, is also Teichert's granddaughter. She's been able to work with the Stark Museum since 2000. She still remembers her grandmother.
"We posed to paintings occasionally," Wardle said. "Just walking through the room and the smell of linseed oil can still bring back a flood of memories. She was very special to me."
Wardle's favorite in the collection was painted in 1936, after Teichert's husband told her about a Native American dance on the Fort Hall reservation in Idaho.
"She did not see it, but she painted the story as grandpa described it and this hung in their home for years and all the kids grew up with it," said Wardle.
Now Teichert's family believes more of her iconic artwork is back home, part of the permanent collection at BYU. The new Minerva Teichert acquisitions are a feature of the Southwest Exhibition that will be on display at the BYU Museum of Art until April 13th.