BY MELISSA SPELTS
Have you ever heard of Minerva Bernetta Kohlhepp Teichert? She is a famous artist that completed thousands of beautiful paintings. Did you know that Minerva was born here in North Ogden, Utah, in August 1888? She was the second of 10 children. When she was four years old, her mom gave her a set of water paints. This was the beginning of her love for painting. Her grandparents lived in a house that still stands in North Ogden. Most of her growing up years took place on a ranch in Idaho, but she moved in with her grandparents, Bill and Minerva Hickman, for a couple years as a teenager while she finished school. She graduated from the 8th grade at the Red Brick School. This was a school located near 626 E. 2600 N. When it was demolished, the school had a bell tower, a library, an office, and three classrooms. The community outgrew the building, so a new one was needed.
When she was 14, Minerva became a nursemaid in San Francisco. This is where she took her first art class. She finished her high school years in Idaho and found her artistic inspiration on the ranch and land surrounding it. She attended art school at the Art Institute of Chicago under John Vanderpoel, where her nickname was “Miss Idaho,” and later at Art Students League of New York under Robert Henri, George Bridgman, and Dimitri Romanoffski. To earn money for school, Minerva sketched cadavers for medical students, was an illustrator for children’s books, and performed rope tricks and Indian dances. If you see a picture of her wearing a head band, know that this hairdo started due to her Indian performances. She would say she liked wearing the head band to “hold in her brains.”
Minerva married Herman Teichert and they had five children together. They lived on a ranch in Cokeville, Wyoming. There was a time when they didn’t have enough money to buy art supplies, and she would paint on scraps of wood and paper. Her paintings depicted Western America and religious themes. Minerva’s daughter-in-law described her as feisty and opinionated. Her grandchildren felt so much love from her and always ran into her house instead of knocking first. They all knew where Grandma’s hiding place was for cakes and other goodies. Her neighbors loved her. Many children from their community took art lessons from Minerva. They learned art techniques as well as how to have good posture along with other life and spiritual lessons. She also donated many pieces of her art to BYU to help fund her family’s college education. What an amazing woman.
“Eternity seems very real to me,” she wrote in her 1937 autobiography. Then, expressing her eternal wish: “I want … to be able to paint after I leave here. Even though I should come back nine times I still would not have exhausted my supply of subjects, and one lifetime is far too short but may be a schooling for the next.” Some of her most famous paintings include the following: Christ in His Red Robe, Miracle of the Gulls, Covered Wagon Pioneers, Queen Esther, Rescue of the Lost Lamb, and Indian Village.