This book presents for the first time a survey of those early painters who formed and have carried forward an expression of nature's gift to those associated with Utah. A sequence of painted scenes of ordered Wasatch environments and the artists who form this group called Painters of the Wasatch underscore a distinct painting development connected with Utah's Wasatch that is directly, and by each generation, linked to modern landscape paintings. Though the Wasatch Range forms part of the Rocky Mountains, it is quite different in the sense that the Painters of the Wasatch developed their own character and history. According to H. L. A. Culmer, the Wasatch Rocky Mountains have long foothills; the Wasatch Range does not. But what makes the Wasatch unique is not only its geology but also its cultural roots: The Mormon pioneers set down roots in Utah in 1847.
Throughout time, a variety of immigrant artists settled along the Wasatch Front and in the mountain valleys, carrying forward a careful scrutiny of the Wasatch not unlike that received by the Hudson River country. In this way the Wasatch is the setting for a school of painting in the West that is quite like a Hudson River School in the East, and the Painters of the Wasatch persist to this day because of the values associated with that first of America's art movements--a dedication to place and a careful study and interpretation of the environment in a spiritual and cultural context. The Painters of the Wasatch are not defined by a particular style or medium but by a physical presence that has unlimited appeal and inspiration.
Ann Orton provides a carefully researched reference to the Wasatch, titled "The Wasatch Mountains," that documents the various peaks and valleys. Robert Olpin and Thomas Rugh's essay titled "Painters of the Wasatch" establishes the foundation of a perspective on nineteenth-century Utah Wasatch art that will encourage further study and visual investigation.
A portfolio of about 275 artworks ranges from the earliest examples of paingin in the nineteenth century to paintings by Utah's contemporary artists. Biographies of the artists include occasional stylistic analysis of each artist. It is then left to the reader to discover the richness of the Wasatch and its painters in many of these little-seen and newly discovered images.
Robert S. Olpin, Ph.D. (Boston University), has served on the University of Utah's Art and Art History faculty for almost forty years. He has been (for a decade each) art history program director, department chair, and College of Fine Arts dean. Today he is a founding co-director (along with Clayton Williams) of the Utah Fine Arts Institute, a scholarship-granting research agency of the University of Utah. Since 1967 Professor Olpin has been author and/or editor of fifty-five publications and television programs on American and Utah art. He has authored publications regarding the American landscape painter Alexander H. Wyant (1836-1892), the influence of Dutch art on American artistic development, as well as the Dictionary of Utah Art, and co-authored several books on Utah art, including Artists of Utah and Utah Painting and Sculpture. He lives in Murray, Utah, with his wife, Mary Florence Olpin, a noted public school teacher, and they have four daughters.
Ann W. Orton earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Brigham Young University and worked as the food editor and restaurant critic for the Deseret News, as the Rocky Mountain editor for Zagat Survey, as an editorial assistant at Bookcraft Publishing and as a public affairs representative for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is the mother of five living children, the grandmother of seven and thrives on adventurous travel, testing new recipes and spending precious time with her grandbabies.
Thomas F. Rugh is the Sid and Mary Foulger Executive Director of the Museum of Utah Art & History. He has studied humanities at Brigham Young University and art History at the University of Chicago where he received a dissertation fellowship to stud