The late Arnold Friberg (1913-2010) is best known to Latter-day Saints as the artist who created
a dozen oil paintings illustrating events in The Book of Mormon. These illustrations were used in
hundreds of thousands of copies that were printed in various languages.
These paintings were commissioned and personally paid for by Adele Cannon Howells, who
wanted illustrative materials for teaching Primary children. The originals now hang in a
dedicated gallery in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
Friberg is even better known in Canada, where he is revered as a depicter of the life and lore of
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A commercial artist in Chicago, Friberg was commissioned
to do his first Mountie painting by the Northwest Paper Company in 1937.
Northwest built its advertising around a RCMP theme and used new paintings every year for its
calenders and other promotions. Eventually Friberg would produce 208 Mountie paintings for
the client, as well as other Mountie paintings and drawings he kept for himself. Calenders and
other reproductions of Friberg's paintings hung everywhere, and Friberg became an honorary
member of the RCMP.
Friberg became Cecil B. DeMille's artistic director in the production of The Ten
Commandments. Friberg painted important scenes in the story, and these depictions became the
visual anchors around which DeMille built the movie. DeMille published a book depicting these
paintings and Arnold's portraits of the lead characters in costume; a million copies of this were
sold at premieres around the world.
If Arnold Friberg had been Japanese and lived in Japan he would have been considered a
National Treasure, officially designated by the government and revered by the populace. If he
had been French he would have been made a Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters. Even
though Friberg was neither Japanese nor French, he enjoyed a wide international popularity. His
art and illustrations have been admired by people living in scores of countries and speaking
Besides painting The Book of Mormon subjects, the nearly 300 Mountie renderings, and the Ten
Commandments art, the other objects of Friberg's art have been many and varied, ranging from
calm, pious religious scenes such at the Nativity, to ferocious Indian attacks on a railroad train,
to panoramas of forest-fire fighters, to depictions of the Four Freedoms of World War II, to
football heros. He painted Queen Elizabeth and her horse from life and a praying George
Washington with his horse at Valley Forge from heart. This Prayer at Valley Forge is one of
America's greatest icons.
Arnold Friberg and his most famous painting, Prayer at Valley Forge
Friberg was productive until the day he died. But when he was in his nineties he suffered a
stroke a was hospitalized. Because of his age he was not quickly discharged.
One day an occupational therapist arrived at his bedside to hasten his recovery. Friberg, who had
a loud and resonant voice, stared at the materials she offered him, then looked back at her.
"Do you know who I am?" he asked.
"No, sir," she replied.
"I'm Arnold Friberg. And you bring me FINGER PAINTS!"
According to Friberg, the occupational therapist beat a hasty retreat. The next day she
reappeared, but this time she upgraded the therapy to a few basic watercolors.
Lawrence Jeppson is an art consultant, organizer and curator of art exhibitions, writer, editor
and publisher, lecturer, art historian, and appraiser. He is America's leading authority on
modern, handwoven French tapestries. He is expert on the works of William Henry Clapp, Nat
Leeb, Tsing-fang Chen, and several French artists.
He is founding president of the non-profit Mathieu Matégot Foundation for Contemporary
Tapestry, whose purview encompasses all 20th-century tapestry, an interest that traces back to
1948. For many years he represented the Association des Peintres-Cartonniers de Tapisserie and
Arelis in America.
Through the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the American Federation of
Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, and his own Art Circuit Services he has been a contributor to
or organizer of more than 200 art exhibitions in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Taiwan.
He owns AcroEditions, which publishes and/or distributes multiple-original art. He was co-founder and artistic director of Collectors' Investment Fund.
He is the director of the Spring Arts Foundation; Utah Cultural Arts Foundation, and the Fine
Arts Legacy Foundation
Lawrence is an early-in-the-month home teacher, whose beat is by elevator. In addition, he has spent the past six years hosting and promoting reunions of the missionaries who served in the French Mission (France, Belgium, and Switzerland) during the decade after WWII.