Monday, February 20, 2006

My Creative Family Tree

I come from some pretty creative stock. I don't get it just from my Mom. I have one grandfather who was an art major in college, became a carpenter, and now, in his free time, makes violins. My other grandfather is also an artist who paints in oils and watercolors and creates stunning stained glass pieces. Both my grandmothers were experienced seamstresses and dabbled in needle crafts as well. One was and still is an excellent knitter, who created gorgeous aran sweaters and suits and even argyle socks.

But going farther back, is Danquart Anthon Weggeland, my third-great-grandfather, who was the first of my family to come to America from Norway. He was a painter and studied in Denmark where he joined the LDS church. He later came to Utah across the plains with the pioneers, and we've mostly stayed in this area since. He is called "The Father of Utah Art" and was very influential to many of the early artists who emerged in Utah. A more in depth bio can be found here and here.

This weekend I was able to see a great exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Art called "Revisiting Utah's Past" (link to article), which was showing three of his paintings. I haven't seen everything he's painted, there's no compiled list as of yet, but I keep my eyes and ears open and in the last year have been able to see eight more of his paintings I'd never seen before, making the total I've seen around 12 or 13, one which hangs in our own home. I'm still amazed every time I stand in front of one of his paintings, admiring the skill, the brushstrokes, and just marveling that someone who's blood I share created it. Admiring a work of art is one thing, but admiring a work of art which you're conected to is something else. Especially when you see it hanging in a museum setting. Maybe people who are artists get this same feeling when their own work is displayed (or something like it) but it's strange. I hope to continue to learn about Dan Weggeland and his life, maybe I can be the one to help pull all the pieces together, wether works of art or details of his life.

Title: "Bishop Sam Bennion Farm, Taylorsville" - 1879
Media: Oil On Canvas, Size: 21" x 31 1/8"

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