The University began to acquire paintings by Minerva Teichert long before there was a Museum of Art. Teichert gave some of the artworks to the University as gifts-in-kind, trading art as tuition for family members and friends. Other pieces the University purchased shortly after Teichert painted them.
In addition to the complete series of her Book of Mormon paintings and other religious subjects, the Museum also owns many of her Western and Native American works for which she is known and celebrated. We are honored to have of the largest museum collections of Teichert’s paintings, allowing her dynamic work to gain wider recognition.
Teichert’s works can always be seen in various displays of the museum’s permanent collection. Currently, her art is featured in Becoming America, Rend the Heavens, and From the Vaults: Selections from Minerva Teichert’s Book of Mormon Paintings.
Minerva Teichert (1888-1976), Rug Merchants, 1935, oil on canvas. Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
Growing up in Idaho, near the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation, Minerva Teichert developed a life-long interest in Indigenous peoples. She depicted scenes of Native American life with a respectful and idealized lens, almost nostalgically frozen in the historical past. Here, as the Indigenous weavers present their fine textiles, a trapper—a character from the early nineteenth-century fur trade—examines the rugs and baskets for sale.
Minerva wrote that in creating this piece she was inspired by the artistry of historic Native American rugs, which she had seen in a friend’s collection: “This friend…knows the West very well and bought these rugs or blankets long ago when she had many excellent things to choose from. I have seen such scenes before the Navajos had been exploited to such an extent. It is a Gay Bazaar in the desert.” The rug displayed adjacent to this painting is an example of fine Navajo craftsmanship and the role of both commerce and tourism in popularizing such rugs.