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Reuben Kirkham

Reuben Kirkham was born in Spalding, England in 1845. This pioneer artist painted panoramas, landscapes, and invented landscapes. He died in Logan, Utah in 1886.

Kirkham came to Utah in 1866 as a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, settled in Salt Lake City briefly and then moved to Logan. He and pioneer artist, Alfred Lambourne, became friends while they painted scenes for the Salt Lake Theater.

From 1883 to 1885, Kirkham traveled around Utah with a 19-scene panorama based on the Book of Mormon. His landscape paintings include Deserted Mill (1873), Wilds of the Wasatch (1878-79), and Blacksmith Fork Canyon, Logan (1879). He also painted invented landscapes of which Castaway is an example.

Biography adapted from Artists of Utah.

Reuben Kirkham, a pioneer landscape artist was a native of Spalding, England, and came to Utah from his home country in 1866. Settling temporarily in Great Salt Lake City, he eventually made Logan his home. Before that, Kirkham found work painting scenery for the old Salt Lake Theatre; that experience, along with the painting of panoramas with his friend Alfred Lambourne, led him to work on a number of large canvases. Basically, more primitive in style than Lambourne, Kirkham often created fanciful "invented" forms and relationships in various scenes, not dissimilar in some parts to the fanciful forms and relationships in many of the naive concoctions of a famed kindred spirit in France, Le Douanier ("customs official"). A Mormon convert baptized in 1855-like Lambourne, Nathaniel Spens, and John Tullidge as well-Reuben Kirkham spent the last years of his life (beginning in 1884) painting and travelling far and wide with nineteen Book of Mormon panoramas of his own invention.

Biography courtesy Artists of Utah.

Newspaper Articles

"Kirkham's work on display." The Deseret News, May 4, 2003.

"Utah Painting and Sculpture." The Deseret News, December 21, 1997.


Books

Dawdy, Doris. Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary. Chicago. IL: Sage Books, 1990.

Dunbier, Roger. North American Artists: The Artists Bluebook. Scottsdale, AZ: AskART.com, 2000.

Gerdts, William H. Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting, 1710-1920. New York, NY: Abbeville Press, 1990.

Haseltine, James L. 100 Years of Utah Painting: Selected Works from the 1840s to the 1940s. Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake Arts Center, 1965.

Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

Reinhardt, Lisa.  Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide 2001/2002. Phoenix, AZ: Gordon's Art Reference, 2000.

Samuels, Peggy and Harold Samuels. The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976.

Springville Museum of Art. Permanent Collection Catalog. Springville, UT: Springville Museum of Art, 1972.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, Donna Poulton, and Janie Rogers. 150 Year Survey Utah Art, Utah Artists. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2001.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Art. Layton, UT: Peregrine Smith Books, 1991.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Painting and Sculpture. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1991.

 Last Modified 5/6/14