Chapter 6: Art for the Home

Even a Sparrow by Greg Olsen. Oil on Canvas. 24 x 30 in. Collection of the artist.

Even a Sparrow by Greg Olsen. Oil on Canvas. 24 x 30 in. Collection of the artist.

The first retail space for Church materials, the Deseret Book Company, was opened in 1919 in downtown Salt Lake City. Members could buy sacred clothing, scriptures, books published authored by Church leaders (e.g. Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage). For the most part, members purchased through a catalogue circulated in local wards and branches. In 1959, the Church opened a second location in Ogden, Utah. But, it was not until the 1990s, with some 30 stores in more than nine States, that the Church dramatically changed its distribution model, providing a place that not only distributed Church materials (e.g. manuals, lesson materials, clothing) but also music, books, and art. 

Oh, My Poor Dear Brother Hyrum by Liz Lemon Swindle. Oil on Canvas. 30 x 40 in.

Oh, My Poor Dear Brother Hyrum by Liz Lemon Swindle. Oil on Canvas. 30 x 40 in.

For the first time, members of the Church could buy reproductions of art already found in the Church catalogue. At the same time, independent retail spaces, such as Seagull Book & Tape created places where LDS lifestyle products could be bought. These retail spaced created an
opportunity for a new generation of LDS artists to sell reproductions of original works to large audiences. Artwork was distributed not only as framed and unframed reproductions, but in new vehicles, such as book covers, children’s books, and calendars. This led to a new kind of artist, one that was not only creating works for Church spaces and publications; but, for the home.

Children of Light by Joseph Brickey. Oil on Canvas. 60 x 60 in. 

Children of Light by Joseph Brickey. Oil on Canvas. 60 x 60 in.