Utah Artists Project Logo

  • Artist Profile Image - Florence E. Ware

Florence E. Ware

Florence Ware was born to a prominent architect, Walter E. Ware, and his wife, Jennie M. Hartley, in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1891. A multifaceted artist, she worked as a painter, illustrator, costume designer, interior designer, and muralist. She died in Salt Lake City in 1972.

Ware graduated from the University of Utah when she was 22 years old. Following her graduation, she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago graduating first in her class. After an 18-month tour of Europe and the Near East, she became an instructor of art at the University of Utah where she taught for the next 25 years.

An example of her work is her WPA–sponsored murals depicting the history of arts in the western world which she painted at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus. Ware's work was recognized with local awards—the Purchase Prize, Utah Art Institution (1928) and an honorary at the Springville Museum of Art (1931).

Biography adapted from Utah Art.

Born May 6, 1891, in Salt Lake City, Florence Ware was the only child of a successful architect. She was provided with the finest education then available, learning music, art, and ballet from private tutors. From a very early age she exhibited exceptional artistic skill.

Florence Ware's entire adult life was consumed with art training, producing, teaching, and exhibiting. At age 22, she graduated from the University of Utah. She then studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating with high honors and first in her art class.

From there, she moved to California where she studied and painted. Her most celebrated artistic excursion was her 18-month tour of Europe and the Near East in 1928. While there, she completed several small paintings that fit into her box of oil paints. Her instructors included J.T. Harwood, Edwin Evans, Charles Hawthorne, and Anna Hills.

Upon her return to Utah, she again resided in Salt Lake City, where she taught at the University of Utah. She was the first President of the Association of Utah Artists in 1940. Furthermore, she began Ogden's palette club and Utah's “Pageant of the Arts“ in American Fork.

Florence Ware was a painter, illustrator, costume designer, interior designer, and muralist. She had numerous commissions from all these sources and was constantly busy, working for her eager clientele. She is probably best remembered for her murals at Kingsbury Hall, on the University of Utah campus, which depict the history of the arts in the Western world.

Ware was especially intrigued by the principles of color, as well as by natural and reflected light. She stated, “Probably the most interesting phase of art to me is the subtle beauty of color as it is shown and developed in picture, interiors, fabrics, gardens, and nature. I should like to arrange so far as I am able the perfect setting for a work of art.“

Ware enjoyed painting nature, especially flowers, as well as painting human subjects. Never married, she died in Salt Lake City on November 11, 1972, at the age of 81. In her wake, Florence Ware left hundreds of paintings, dozens of murals, and hundreds of successful students.

One of her students, Ted Wassmer, would later, with his wife Judy Lund, donate a large collection of works to the Springville Museum of Art along with repeated, substantial financial contributions. The Museum also owns a Ted Wassmer painting of Florence Ware, seated on a swing in her garden, An Afternoon With Florence Ware.

Biography written by Carma Rose de Jong Anderson and found in Utah Art.

Newspaper Articles

"Scrapbook: A Century of Christmas Spirit of Season Shines Through War and Peace." The Deseret News, December 23, 1999.

"U. Gallery Displaying Top Entries in Student Art Show Until August 29." The Deseret News, July 3, 1989.


Anderson, Carma Rose de Jong. "Florence Ellen Ware." Unpublished manuscript on file at the Springville Museum of Art.

Breckinridge, M. First National Exhibition of American Art: May 18th to July 1st 1936, International Building, Rockefeller Center. NY: Municipal Art Committee, 1936.

Davenport, Ray. Davenport's Art Reference. Ventura, CA: Davenport's Art Reference, 2001.

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

Dunbier, Lonnie Pierson, ed. The Artists Bluebook: 29,000 North American Artists. Scottsdale, AZ: AskART.com, 2003.

Falk, Peter Hastings. Who Was Who in American Art; Compiled from the Original Thirty-four Volumes of American Art Annual: Who's Who in Art, Biographies of American Artists Active from 1898-1947. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1985.

Falk, Peter Hastings. Who was Who in American Art, 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.

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

Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California, 1786-1940. San Francisco, CA: Hughes Pub. Co., 2001.

Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California 1786-1940. San Francisco, CA: Hughes Publishing Co., 1989.

Kovinick, Phil, and Marian, Yoshiki-Kovinick. An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1998.

Mallett, Daniel Trowbridge. Index of Artists, International-Biographical; Including Painters, Sculptors, Illustrators, Engravers and Etchers of the Past and the Present. New York, NY: Peregrine Smith, 1948.

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

Petteys, Chris. Dictionary of Women Artists: An International Dictionary of Women Artists Born Before 1900. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1985.

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

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

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

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

Trenton, Patricia. Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945. Berkeley, CA: Autry Museum of Western Heritage in association with the University of California Press, 1995.


Open Chat
 Last Modified 4/1/20