To Minerva Teichert (1888-1976), painting was more than a profession. It was a divine calling, a mission she felt compelled to work on every day. She was one of few Western women in the early twentieth century to receive formal art training at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Art Students League in New York City. During Teichert’s time in New York, her teacher American artist Robert Henri encouraged her to paint the “Mormon story.” She boldly took up this commission, painting many scenes from the Mormon history and also assuming the task of illustrating the Book of Mormon.
The BYU Museum of Art owns the complete set of the 42 murals from Teichert’s Book of Mormon series, as well as a few other painting of Book of Mormon topics. From 1949-1951, she completely dedicated herself to this task, referring to it as the “greatest joy as well as the toughest job I ever hope to undertake.” Teichert’s murals present a dramatic synopsis of the story of the Book of Mormon. She captures the human dimension and the emotion of the stories of familiar scriptural figures, such as Nephi, Sariah, Alma, and Captain Moroni. Through her images, we can see the Book of Mormon through fresh eyes.