“With God’s Assistance I Will Someday Be an Artist”: John B. Fairbanks’s Account of the Paris Art Mission

In 1890, John B. Fairbanks and other Utah artists were sent as Latter-day Saint missionaries to study art in Paris. Their goal, which they fulfilled, was to improve their artistic skill in order to return and paint beautiful murals in the Salt Lake Temple. Fairbanks wrote weekly to his family during his two-year stint in Paris, providing a record of the experience. Six letters are included in this article. They tell of his reaction to news of President Wilford Woodruff’s Manifesto ending polygamy, describe the program of study at the Academie Julian, and express hope for his own progress in art and for his children to have their own goals in their lives. Fairbanks became a well-known landscape painter whose art shows the influence of the artistic movements of the day.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 50:3
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