Celebrate Local History: “Bridger at Yellowstone”

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Happy International Women’s Day!

ROCK SPRINGS – “Bridger at Yellowstone” is by Minerva Teichert (1888 – 1976) and is one of four large oil murals which currently hang at the Sweetwater #1 Central Administration Building. They were commissioned by the school board in the mid-1930s for the Rock Springs High School.

Minerva Teichert was born on August 28, 1888 in North Ogden, Utah. Minerva had a true passion for painting. She started painting at four years old when her mother gave her a set of watercolors. At age fourteen, she went to work as a nanny in San Francisco.

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It was at this time that she was able to observe paintings at such places as the Mark Hopkins Art School. Minerva graduated from Pocatello High School at the age of sixteen, and taught school in Davisville, Idaho to save money to go to the Art Institute of Chicago. But when she had saved up enough money to attend the art school, her father refused to let her go alone.

As an LDS church missionary she went east with a church group, and she was the first woman to be sent for art lessons with the official blessing of the LDS church leadership. When she arrived in Chicago she studied under John Vanderpoel. She returned home long enough to earn money, and then departed back to Chicago to finish school. When she finished, she returned to Idaho to her own isolated homestead. There she lived by herself and for protection, slept with a revolver under her pillow.

Minerva was courted by two men, one was wealthy and the other was a cowboy, she chose the cowboy whose name was Herman Teichert. She had received a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York, so before marrying Herman she traveled there to study further. She used various skills to pay her way, such as sketching cadavers for medical schools, illustrating children’s books, painting portraits, sharp shooting, and performing rope tricks and Indian dances on the New York stage. Some of her paintings were exhibited in the Immigrant Receiving Station on Ellis Island.

When Minerva returned to Utah she married Herman. Together they eventually settled in Cokeville, Wyoming. She kept books for the ranch, cooked for the hands of the farm, raised five children, and painted. She used her narrow living room as her studio.

To get a correct perspective view of her paintings, she looked at her work through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars. She would send her children to bed around 8, and paint until midnight. She loved to paint the western wilderness and she used human figures and work animals as her most common subjects. Women are also prominent in her work. She was truly an amazing artist!

The CFAC has several books and articles on Teichert available for check out.