An exhibition showcasing 45 of Minerva Teichert’s paintings is now open at the Church History Museum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in downtown Salt Lake City.
The exhibition, titled “With This Covenant in My Heart: The Art and Faith of Minerva Teichert,” shows the devotion Teichert evidenced in her life and in her mission to place the stories of her heart before the public.
The show is organized around Teichert’s account of falling ill during the 1918 influenza pandemic. Feeling close to death, Teichert remembered her recently completed art training and prayed.
“I promised the Lord if I’d finished my work and he’d give me some more, I’d gladly do it,” she said later. “With this covenant in my heart, I began to live.”
Teichert’s richly layered life — in which she worked with her husband to raise a family on a cattle ranch in Cokeville, Wyoming, made meaningful connections with her community, studied scripture and secular learning, worked on family history, and, of course, painted — evidenced her desire to devote her daily activities to God.
Trained as a muralist, she believed in placing important stories before the public. The stories she painted were the stories of her heart: stories of the Savior, of the restoration of His gospel, of Old Testament themes like the gathering of Israel, Book of Mormon narratives, and stories of the western United States (both of indigenous peoples and 19th-century settlers).
“I was delighted to have the opportunity to see her beautiful work,” said Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson. “I have always admired her tenacity and her testimony.”
President Johnson said Teichert’s paintings of women reaching out to Christ reflect His deep compassion.
“I think His facial features are so beautiful and His arms outstretched, which is positively the message of Relief Society — that our Savior stands ready to provide us with relief,” she said.
“Minerva Teichert leaves a rich legacy and example for museum visitors today,” added art curator Laura Paulsen Howe. “Teichert’s faith in Jesus Christ gave context to all her activities, whether she was churning butter, reading stories to her children at the breakfast table, or painting grand narratives. Her legacy has been especially important to Latter-day Saint women who have drawn inspiration from her richly layered life.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a major patron of Minerva Teichert’s works in the 1930s and 1940s. Due to the efforts of her friend and agent Alice Merrill Horne, Teichert’s works have hung in Latter-day Saint meetinghouses and in other church buildings like the Lion House and tabernacles; her narrative tracing the gathering of mankind to Zion decorates the interior of the Manti Temple. These works are significant in the Church’s art collection and have been preserved and conserved in preparation for this exhibition.
“The art of Minerva Teichert plays a significant role in the history of Latter-day Saint visual culture,” Howe said, “and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to ensure her work will endure for future generations.”
The exhibit includes interactive audio kiosks that feature Teichert talking about different parts of her life and her children talking about what it was like having a mother who was an artist. Visitors can also recreate what Teichert saw from her small ranch house. And children can collect cards along the way that explain each painting and suggest activities to explore while looking at the artwork.
“You can collect all the cards, put them in a cute little envelope, and have a wonderful take-home souvenir from your visit,” said Carrie Snow.
“With This Covenant in My Heart: The Art and Faith of Minerva Teichert” runs from July 6, 2023, to August 3, 2024. The museum and museum store are open to the public Monday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free.
The Church History Museum is on the west side of Salt Lake City’s Historic Temple Square. The museum houses important artifacts of the founding, pioneers, and contemporary leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as a collection of works by many of its illustrious artists from 1830 to the present.