Utah Painting and Sculpture


A grand revision and expansion of

the state's first comprehensive,

illustrated, history of Utah Art


by: Vern G. Swanson, Robert S. Olpin, William C. Seifrit


(Pictured above: portion of Utah Painting and Sculpture dust cover

On the cover: Red Horse and Rider, 1994 by Brian T. Kershisnik)




Introduction by William Gerdts

This revised edition further reveals the exceptional quality and diversity of Utah's visual arts tradition. Over 150 color plates bring Utah's masterpieces to life, with more than 100 of these color plates new to this revised volume. Additional black-and-white photographs take the reader into the artists' world. The text is authoritative but full of personal detail and cultural insight. It traces the distinguished progress of Utah painting and sculpture from pioneer origin to full contemporary flowering, and it places Utah-with California and New Mexico-among the three great art centers of the western United States.

The first permanent European settlers in the territory of Deseret established an early emphasis on art, theater, and literature and recognized a need for education and travel to broaden the frontier perspective. Each new generation responded to the larger international art scene. Mahonri Young argued art theory with Gertude Stein. John Willard Clawson received criticism from Claude Monet. Fauvism captured Waldo Midgley and Philip Barkdull. George Dibble experimented with cubism in the thirties. Don Olsen, a high school teacher, spent his summers hobnobbing with the abstract expressionists in New York. One enduring motif is the grandeur of Utah's landscape; is was this that brought Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt, Maynard Dixon, Birger Sandzen, and others to Utah-to paint its landscapes and influence its artists. John Hafen, J. T. Harwood, and LeConte Stewart used landscape as a primary source of inspiration. And many contemporary painters-Ken Baxter, Harrison Groutage, Frank Huff, Earl Jones, Doug Snow, and others-testify to its enduring power.


Gallery of Images


Four expert art historians put the state's rich tradition into perspective

William Seifrit, a well known scholar, has written extensively about the pioneer period. Art historian Robert Olpin is Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. Vern Swanson directs the Springville Museum of Art and is responsible for that institution's expanding collection of Utah art. William Gerdts, of the City University of New York, author of Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting(Abbeville, 1990) contributes the introduction.

From Pioneer Painters to Impressionism: 1847-1900 by William Seifrit
Tradition and the Lure of the Modern: 1900-1950 by Robert Olpin
The Contemporary Scene: 1950-1990 by Vern Swanson
Since Then: 1991-1997 by Vern Swanson and Robert Olpin
Chronology; Comprehensive list of Utah Artists; Bibliography; Index.



Utah Painting and Sculpture is published in cooperation with the Springville Museum of Art. The color plates are drawn from that museum's collection and from the Utah State Fine Arts Collection, the LDS Museum of Church History and Art, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the BYU Fine Arts Museum, and several private collections.


Source: Gibbs Smith, Peregrine Smith Books


Resource Library editor's note

For biographical information on artists referenced in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists

This article was originally published in 1997 with permission of Gibbs Smith, Peregrine Smith Books

Rev. 8/27/09

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library.

This page was originally published in 1997 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

Copyright 2012 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.