"Mounted Hunt" by Minerva Teichert at BYU Museum of Art.

PROVO — To Sheela Ware, Minerva Teichert's work has always been aesthetically pleasing. The Utah Valley State College freshman appreciates Teichert's use of vibrant colors, her dramatic figures and unique technique. But there were some aspects of Teichert's work that Ware didn't quite comprehend.

"I love her paintings," Ware said. "But I never understood before why the backgrounds were so muted. Some of them seem to mash into nothing."

By visiting the exhibit "Minerva Teichert: Pageants in Paint" at the Museum of Art art Brigham Young University, viewers can observe the historic influence of American pageants and murals in Teichert's work and gain new perspective on her paintings.

Teichert studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League of New York in the early 1900s when mural painting was popular. Elaborate theatrical pageants were also popular during this time period.

"(Teichert) embraced mural painting as a way to tell important stories of the West and of the church — her Mormon pioneer heritage," said Marian Wardle, curator of the exhibition and American art at the museum. "She had lots of stories she wanted to tell. She saw mural paintings as a way to be able to tell those stories, just like pageants."

The exhibit focuses on 47 of Teichert's large paintings, only one-tenth of the number of murals she's actually painted, said Wardle.

Pageants and murals were both popular during the early 20th century. "They both were large scale. They both told their story with human figures," Wardle said. "They both tried to teach the public. They were both to be seen from a distance."

Because of the large scale of pageants, much attention would go to the front figures, while background detail was minimal. "Part of the reason for that is to create this sort of shallow flat space, rather than having the audience look way back into the perspective," Wardle said. "This sort of demonstrates how even (Teichert's) paintings were like that."

The use of dramatic tableaux, processions and theatrical poses and gestures are explained throughout the pageantry-influenced exhibit.

On Monday nights, the museum will offer free tours designed for families.

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