8 Utah artists whose work is on display in some very famous buildings


Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes

Utah has an impressive legacy of incredibly talented artists who have left their mark on the world. And while their names may not be as recognizable as Da Vinci and Rembrandt, the following painters, sculptors and photographers each created works that deserve national (and sometimes international) recognition.

The next time you travel to the Smithsonian, keep an eye on the works of these Utah artists, even at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and even downtown Salt Lake.

Arnold Freiberg

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will recognize Arnold Friberg’s name from his paintings of the Book of Mormon scenes. (These paintings were actually personally commissioned by the Church President Adel Cannon Howells from 1943 to 1951, according to a previous article in Dezalet News.)

However, those who know that Friberg’s legacy worked with filmmaker Cecil B. Demil, famous for the “Ten Commandments,” and that he traveled to Buckingham Palace to paint portraits of Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II. Is not so many.

Perhaps his most famous work of art is “Prayer in the Valley Forge,” which depicts George Washington kneeling in the snow by a horse. Copies of the painting can be found in many homes and offices along the Wasatch Front, but the original is on display at the Bible Museum in Washington, DC until January 2023.

Charles Rosco Savage

According to the BYU Library, Charles Roths Cau Savage was one of the best 19th century landscape photographers in the western United States and became a well-known studio portrait photographer. He was an early convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, immigrating from England in 1856 and eventually opening a studio in Salt Lake.

The most famous photo of Savage is the confluence of the transcontinental railroad in Promontory, Utah. His work has been exhibited at museums nationwide, including the Smithsonian Castle and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Alvin Gittins

Alvin Gittins, best known as a portrait painter and professor at the University of Utah, has undoubtedly left his mark on Utah’s artistic heritage. According to the Utah Artist Project, his work includes portraits of 89 managers, professors, and patrons of the University of Utah, which hang in almost every campus building.

He also exhibited his work at the Royal Association of Artists and Portrait Painters in London, the Medal of Honor Palace in San Francisco, and Stanford University.

Jean Howarth

It’s easy to imagine that one of the co-designers of The Beatles’ famous “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album cover lived in Utah. Not only that, she created the latest version of that album cover with a downtown mural called “SLC Pepper”.

Jann Haworth has been one of the finest pop artists since the 1960s, grew up in Hollywood and spent many years in London, but now calls Utah his hometown. According to the BYU Museum, Howarth’s works are on display at major museums around the world and are permanently installed at the Tate Modern, Walker Art Center and the Smithsonian.

Cyrus Edwindlin

Born in Utah, Cyrus Edwin Dallín was a well-known sculptor who produced over 260 works of art in his lifetime. These included the equestrian statue of Paul Revere in Boston and the “Appeal to the Great Spirit” on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Cyrus Darin Museum in Arlington, Massachusetts is a homage to Darin and his extensive career. He is recognized as an American sculptor, educator, and activist for the rights of indigenous peoples.

And if you’ve walked downtown Salt Lake, you’ve probably seen another of his famous works. Darin carved Angel Moroni sitting on the Salt Lake Temple.

Mahonri Young

A stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York may reveal works of art by Mahonri Young, the grandson of Brigham Young. Currently on display at Gallery 774 is Young’s statuette “The Man with a Pick”. According to the Mets website, Young’s sculptures reflect the “theme of struggle and patience” and are believed to have been informed by his legacy. Young also made a sculpture of his grandfather Brigham standing in the Statue Hall of the US Capitol.

His work can be found in museums and galleries throughout the United States and Europe, but you don’t have to travel that far. Young also carved a seagull monument. This is a monument to the location of Salt Lake.

Aberd Fairbanks

Averd Fairbanks, an internationally renowned artist who once again proves that Utah is not lacking in talent when it comes to sculptors, is another skilled artist from Beehive. According to an article on the website of the Church of Jesus Christ, Fairbanks has four statues in the statue hall of the Capitol, which is better than any other artist. He also made four different marble busts of Abraham Lincoln on display at the Ford’s Theater Museum.

BYU football fans have seen his work at Ravel Edwards Stadium. He was an artist who sculpted a statue of Cougars that fans would pass through when entering the stadium.

However, some of his most famous works were religious subjects that local members of the church might be aware of. These include a monument honoring the three Witnesses and the restoration of the Aaron Priesthood at Temple Square. He also sculpted Angel Moroni for temples in the Jordan River, Seattle, Mexico City.

V. Douglas Snow

Known for his large abstract murals, V. Douglas Snow is another native of Salt Lake City and is well known nationwide. According to the Utah Artist Project, Snow has public and private collections across the United States, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, and museums in Utah.

His murals can be found at the Salt Lake Public Library, University of Utah Social Work Building, Pioneer Theater, and Snowbird’s Iron Blossom Lodge. In 1976, Snow became the art director of the University of Utah / Snowbird Summer Art Twin Institute.

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