Utah artist, Minerva Kohlhepp Teichert, is considered to be among the top women American artists- a teacher, dancer, rancher, and tenacious painter, she was heavily inspired by the religious and pioneer stories told by her parents.
Artist Minerva Kohlhepp Teichert was born in North Ogden, Utah in 1888. Throughout her life she captured on canvas the great Mormon pioneer story and the story of the American West. Minerva grew up in a large family on a remote ranch in Idaho. Her mother was the daughter of one of Brigham Young’s bodyguards and her father had been disowned by his prominent family when he joined the LDS Church. The religious and pioneer stories told by her parents inspired Minerva’s art all her life.
Though women artists were not common in the West during this time, there is no doubt that the young Minerva got an early start to her career. When she was four years old, her mother gave her a set of watercolors, and from then on, Minerva considered herself an artist. She carried sketch pad and charcoal with her constantly, a practice she maintained into adulthood.
As a young woman, Minerva taught school to save money to attend the Art Institute of Chicago, and was the first woman to be sent for art lessons with the official blessing of the LDS Church. She later received a scholarship to study at the Art Students League in New York City, one of the most important art centers in the world. To pay her way, she sketched cadavers for medical schools, illustrated children's books, painted portraits, and performed rope tricks and Indian dances on the New York stage.
Minerva turned down opportunities to further her career in the east, and instead returned home to paint the history of the Mormon people. She married cowboy Herman Teichert, and with him, ran their ranch and raised their five children. Somehow, she also painted. Her studio was their living room, which was too small for her large works. So she folded her murals as she painted, and to get the correct perspective, viewed her canvases through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars. Her children were sent to bed at eight o'clock each night so she could paint until midnight.
Teichert produced prolifically, painting more pioneer and Indian subjects than any other Utah artist. She created more than 60 murals that adorn public places in Utah, and her work is in museum collections throughout the state. Minerva Teichert died in 1976 in Provo, Utah.
Image: Covered Wagon Pioneers, Madonna at Dawn. Painting by Minerva Kohlhepp Teichert. Courtesy of J. Willard Marriott Library.
See “Teichert, Minerva B. Kohlhepp (1888-1976)” Springville Museum of Art, accessed http://smofa.org/; “Minierva K. Teichert “, Utah Artists Project, Marriott Library, University of Utah; Williamson, Amy L., "Storytelling Through Brushstrokes: Minerva Teichert's Visualization of the Mormon Pioneer Experience and Messages to Her Audience" (2009). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 396. Logan: Utah State University; Wardle, Marian Eastwood. “Minerva Teichert’s Murals: The Motivation for her Large Scale Production” (1988). A thesis presented to the Department of Art, Brigham Young University, accessed www.mwdl.org.