BYU Museum of Art loans Teichert art to new Church exhibition

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The centerpiece of a new Minerva Teichert exhibition features one of Teichert’s most well-known works, “Christ in a Red Robe.” The new exhibition, focused on Minerva Teichert’s life and artwork, opened July 6, 2023 in the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. (Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

The new Church History Museum exhibition in Salt Lake City, “With This Covenant in My Heart: The Art and Faith of Minerva Teichert,” received several of its pieces on loan from the BYU Museum of Art.

The exhibition is centered around the life of prolific Latter-day Saint artist Minerva Teichert and showcases her legacy and beliefs through her artwork. It takes viewers through the various stages of her life, including her near-death experience in the 1918 influenza pandemic.

A photo of Minerva Teichert. The exhibition also explores how Teichert balanced family life and painting throughout her life. (Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

A press release from the Church cited Teichert’s recommitment to her artwork following her illness.

“I promised the Lord if I’d finished my work and he’d give me some more, I’d gladly do it. With this covenant in my heart, I began to live,” Teichert said, according to the press release.

The interactive exhibition includes audio stations with excerpts from Teichert and her children as well as collectible cards with explanations and activity suggestions. The exhibition came together with collaboration across the Church and includes contributors like the MOA and private collectors.

“We don’t always get the opportunity to see so many of her works all up together. So I think it’s an opportunity that everyone should take the time to see it,” Dr. Janalee Emmer, director of the BYU Museum of Art, said.

Emmer said the Church History Museum exhibition on Teichert’s work has been three years in the making, and the MOA was happy to assist.

“They reached out to us and asked if they could borrow a handful of our work for the exhibition, which we were happy to take over and determine which works we could lend,” Emmer said.

In total, the MOA lent 15 of Teichert’s works to the Salt Lake exhibition which will run from July 6, 2023 to Aug. 3, 2024.

According to Emmer, Teichert initially gave her artwork to BYU as a “tuition in kind” to pay for her children who attended the university before the MOA existed. The lower levels of the MOA still feature some of Teichert’s work, including depictions of German Jewish immigrants to New York during WWII and the children of Israel on the shores of Babylon after their capture by the Assyrians.

The exhibition contains a fragment of Teichert’s painting of the restoration of the priesthood that was burned after the 2010 Provo Tabernacle fire. The Church used the exhibition as an opportunity to preserve more of Teichert’s art. (Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

The Church History exhibition also represents an effort by the Church to better preserve Teichert’s work. The MOA shares this goal.

“We hope to be able to protect and preserve them long into the future so that many generations in the future can see and appreciate her work and see it in various exhibitions,” Emmer said.

Many of Teichert’s pieces were taken from meetinghouses and chapels after the Provo Tabernacle fire in 2010 destroyed a depiction of the restoration of the priesthood, and they have been moved to more secure locations like temples and museums.

“A lot of members recognize her work, but she’s not, perhaps, a household name in the way that she probably should be,” Emmer said. “I hope these exhibits give her a little bit more attention and I’m grateful that the Church is trying to preserve her work and the future because she definitely deserves that.”

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