PROVO Twelve seldom-seen murals painted by Rocky Mountain artist Minerva Teichert have been donated to the Brigham Young University Museum of Art by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, said Walter G. Riedel III, foundation president and CEO.
The western-themed narrative works were collected by Stark, a native of Orange, Texas, between 1954 and 1961. These paintings hung in a private residence owned by Stark and have not been seen by the public for many years.
The works are on long-term loan to the BYU Museum of Art and will be given to the museum over a number of years. Five of these murals are currently on view in the Museum of Art exhibition "Minerva Teichert: Pageants in Paint," which runs through May 26.
"We are thrilled to welcome these works into our collection," said BYU Museum of Art director Campbell Gray. "The incredible generosity of the Stark Foundation has enabled us to strengthen our Teichert collection at a time when her work is becoming increasingly recognized in art historical circles and more popular among collectors."
According to Marian Wardle, Museum of Art curator of American art, these works are an important addition to the museum's collection because they represent a phase of Teichert's career that has not been represented in the museum's holdings.
The majority of the works in the museum's collection were painted when Teichert was selling through her Salt Lake City agent, Alice Merrill Horne, to a Utah-based audience, primarily members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The works in the Stark collection were painted after Horne's death in 1948.
"Minerva Teichert painted many of her religious works while she was selling through her agent, Alice Merrill Horne," Wardle said. "Even her western works from that period depicted an LDS view of Native Americans based on teachings in the Book of Mormon. But when she started selling her work through Edith Murrell (Laramie, Wyo.), this new audience expected a certain kind of Native American or Western image the kind that was seen in the cinema."
BYU began collecting Teichert works in the 1930s. Today, not including the donation from the Stark Foundation, the museum has 77 paintings and 58 drawings in its Teichert collection.