REXBURG, Idaho Four historic painting by Latter-day Saint artist Minerva Teichert are now hanging in the John Taylor Religion Building at Ricks College.
The paintings are on loan from the Cokeville, Wyo., LDS Church while it is being renovated. They will remain on display at Ricks until sometime toward the end of 2001, says Ricks art faculty member Gerald Griffin.
The paintings include "The Song of Quetzalquatal" (a large painting depicting Christs visit to the Americas), "Relief Society Sisters Quilting," "Christ on the Sea of Galilee" and "Pioneer Trek."
Recently, D.J. Teichert, a grandson of the well-known artist, was hired to work at the college Tutoring Center. The idea was hatched that during this renovation the paintings could be displayed on campus. Through the efforts of D.J., his father John Teichert and the local stake president, Demar Romrell, the paintings are at Ricks instead of being stored in a warehouse, Griffin says.
Born in North Ogden, Utah, in 1888, Minerva Kohlhepp Teichert was raised near Pocatello in a place called Indian Springs now covered by the American Falls Reservoir. She was a descendant of Mormon pioneers who had traveled from the eastern United States seeking a new life in the West.
After graduating from Pocatello High School in 1906, Minerva engaged in various work to help support herself and her family. She was able to travel to San Francisco as a nursemaid to the children of a wealthy cattleman, and was there exposed to great works of art. She returned home and taught in rural schools to support her father while he served a mission to Germany and Switzerland. After this she was allowed to pursue her dream of becoming an artist and enrolled in the Art Students League in New York City.
Her teacher, the famous portrait painter Robert Henri, said of his students: "George Bellows, John Sloan and Minerva Kohlhepp these are my bets this girl from Utah youre bound to hear from."
While in New York, Minerva donned the costume of an American Indian and performed with a western-styled sideshow doing trick roping and Indian dancing to support herself.
Eventually Minerva married and moved to the small town of Cokeville, Wyo. Her mature art work reveals her love of service women spinning, quilting, laundering, driving oxen and caring for children. She also was a devout member of the church and loved to illustrate stories from the scriptures. Each of these themes are represented here in the Taylor Building.
A woman of modest means, Minerva raised five children and painted in her small living room both small and large paintings some exceeding 8 feet in length. She was always sensitive to the common person, and gave many of her paintings away so that others who could not normally afford such things might have a touch of beauty added to their lives.
She died in 1976 at the age of 88. Her work is in the collection of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and the Church Museum in Salt Lake City. She has had many illustrations from her Book of Mormon series appear in the LDS Churchs Ensign magazine. In 1988 a major exhibition of her work was presented at the Church Museum of History and Art in Salt Lake City.