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Artwork of the Week

Artwork of the Week: November 17, 2019

William Bliss Baker, “Fallen Monarchs,” 1886.

William Bliss Baker (1859-1886), Fallen Monarchs, 1886, oil on canvas, 30 x 39 3/4 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Thomas E. Robinson, 1974.

On November 22, 1886, the American artist William Bliss Baker died at the age of 26. While his career as a landscape painter was just beginning to take shape at his untimely passing, he had already produced an impressive body of work, including this fan-favorite Fallen Monarchs from the BYU MOA collection. This interior forest scene highlights the natural cycle of decay and renewal in the American wilderness. It seems a fitting November image, as we pause to see the barren branches and fallen trees but know that new growth will commence after the coming winter season. This piece is currently on display at the MOA in the exhibition Becoming America.