Artwork from Henry B. Eyring on display at BYU-Idaho


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Courtesy BYU-Idaho

REXBURG — A prominent Mormon leader’s artwork is on display for the first time at Brigham Young University-Idaho. President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has a series of watercolor paintings on display at the Jacob Spori Art Gallery.

“Only a very close circle of his family and friends knew he created art,” Spori Art Gallery Curator Kyoung Dabell says.

The paintings have been in the making for 60 years. The exhibit is called A Visual Journal and will be open until Oct. 20.

“He was resisting, he didn’t want to do it, he didn’t want this to be about him,” Dabell says.

Courtesy BYU-Idaho

The gallery opened Sep. 19. in conjunction with the inauguration of son Henry J. Eyring’s as the university’s president. Henry B. Eyring didn’t want the opening of the exhibit to distract from his son’s official installation.

“I think we, in a coy way (said), this will be a monumental opportunity because your son is being installed as a President, you were president here, and you never showed artwork anywhere publicly,” Dabell says.

Henry B. Eyring served as the institution’s president from 1971 to 1977.

Ideally, art galleries have various sizes of paintings, but Eyring gave reasons behind his 5×7 inch art.

“He basically said, ‘it’s not that I don’t like to paint large, I’m just a busy man and I feel very uncomfortable spending a lot of time painting because (I’m an) apostle,’” Dabell says.

Mantle piece designed for President Henry B. Eyring by Elder Boyd. K. Packer.

According to Dabell, Eyring didn’t have specific pieces he wanted to show. There are 150 of 700 total pieces on display. Dabell says it wasn’t easy narrowing down the selection.

“He had many talents in many different areas and we decided to represent each area that he’s been painting,” Dabell says.

In a news release, Dabell says Eyring also paints ships, skies, horses, people, villages and more.

A wooden mantle piece designed by Elder Boyd K. Packer is also featured in the gallery. The piece was made for Eyring in the 80s. It features an old testament scripture, a temple, and doves and inspired as the leaders conversed while flying home from a visit to Brazil. Dabell says it is something Eyring cherishes.

“It’s such a dear, meaningful piece for him,”

The exhibit is free to the public, but tickets are required to attend.


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