Exhibit pays tribute to Doug Snow's work — 'He painted what he felt'

By Michael McKinlay

Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Sept. 10 2011 3:00 p.m. MDT

Doug Snow's signature on one of his paintings that is currently on display at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Renowned Utah artist V. Douglas Snow loved living life to the fullest and expressing his inner vision through his artwork. Now the public has the chance to see through the eyes of Snow in the new exhibition, "Final Light: V. Douglas Snow in Retrospect."

From now until Jan. 8, 2012, Snow's work will be celebrated in a new exhibit at The Utah Museum of Fine Arts. The Salt Lake Art Center will house the other half of Snow's paintings until Oct. 22, 2011.

"I think my husband always painted what he felt, not what he saw," said Susan Snow, widow of Snow. "And when he had people in his studio look at his paintings, he wanted them to be moved by the paintings on an emotional level, not an intellectual level."

The exhibit features 35 public and private paintings that illustrate his early abstract expressionist-inspired period as well as his later works from the last three decades of his life.

"Doug Snow's legacy as a teacher and artist will live long into the future, and these joint exhibitions are a wonderful way to remember an artist loved by so many, said Gretchen Dietrich, executive director of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. "We are also thrilled to introduce the work of such an important figure to a new generation of art lovers in our community."

Snow's paintings are found in various parts of Utah and the nation, including Springville Museum of Art, New York's Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Art at Brigham Young University and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

Snow also had three paintings that were purchased by a New York lawyer and were hung in one of the twin towers. His wife recalls three paintings that were lost on Sept. 11, two landscapes and an oversize flower painting.

"It wasn't until about a month or so after the bombing of the towers that we realized, 'Your paintings are gone,' " Susan Snow said.

However, some old acquaintances were able to surface for this exhibit.

"It makes me so happy because the exhibit is an opportunity for me and his other art friends to see old friends," Susan Snow said. "And not just people, but the paintings are old friends. I mean so many of these paintings are scattered all over the place and when they go into private collections you often never see them again. So, it's nice to have them all gathered together."

Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and art enthusiasts all gathered at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the Salt Lake Art Center on opening night to see Snow's collection from public and private galleries. The idea to showcase his masterpieces came about three days before his unexpected death from a car accident in October 2009.

"It was an obligation passed in my direction and I couldn't think of a better way to honor a friend and try to fulfill a last wish," said Frank McEntire, a colleague and close friend of Snow. McEntire, along with countless others, made the exhibition happen, through Snow's wish of a biography that showcased his work. "And organizing the book also organized the retrospective of the exhibition."

McEntire first met Snow through his work when he was an art critic for the Salt Lake Tribune, and from there, a friendship grew.

"I was the brother left behind and had to pick up the loose ends," McEntire said. The book, titled "Final Light: The Life and Art of V. Douglas Snow," produced by the University of Utah Press, is slated to be released next summer.

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