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Mary H. Teasdel

Mary Teasdel was born in Salt Lake City in 1863. An important and active impressionist painter, she was one of the first Utah women to study in Paris. She died in Los Angeles in 1937.

Teasdel attended the University of Deseret from 1882 until 1886 and studied under Ottinger. After her graduation with high honors, she furthered her studies with J. T. Harwood. Teasdel studied in France for three years where William Benjamin-Constant, Jules Simon, and James Whistler were her instructors.

Her work was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1899—the first woman and second Utahn to have this honor. She also exhibited at the International French Exhibition. 

Biography adapted from The Springville Museum of Art.

Teasdel was one of the most interesting and talented Utah artists ever to study in Paris. As Robert Olpin comments, “she was a more flamboyant brush handler than J.T. Harwood. A subtle colorist she would in fact demonstrate an increased love of the “painterly approach“ in many later landscape and still life scenes. Also a portraitist, Teasdel became proficient quite early in oils, watercolor, and pastels; these technical accomplishments in the picture making area were often combined with other skills associated with the interior decorator's or designer's interest in overall setting. Eventually, she became the planner of several residential ensembles punctuated by her own painted work. Teasdel's strong inclination toward the decorative arts frequently inspired her choice of attitude toward the pictorial subject matter she treated.

Mary Teasdel was born on Nov 6, the daughter of a successful Salt Lake City merchant. Given music lessons, the best available schooling, young Mary lived in a large and comfortable home in the city and began classes at the University of Deseret in 1882. Studying music and art under the painter George Ottinger and perhaps architectural drawing with Don Carlos Young as well. Teasdel graduated from college with high honors in 1886 at the age of twenty three years. The talented daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. P. Teasdel then settled down to further perfect her student accomplishments in painting and to dream of an eventual sojourn of art study abroad. Mary's father however did not approve of his daughter making art as her profession.

Her family having fallen on severe financial crisis made Mary's dream of becoming a professional artist next to impossible. However with the money she had saved and the family inheritance, Mary got the chance of going to Paris to study art. Early in 1899, Mary Teasdel and two close artist friends, Lara Rawlins (later Chairman) and May Jennings (later Farlow), went to France to study painting.

The first mentioned female “pioneer in reverse,“ Teasdel remained in Paris for a three year period while spending summers sketching and painting in Normandy. Eventually she studied with Benjamin Constant, Jules Simon, and even the celebrated James McNeill Whistler, Teasdel became the “second Utahn“ and the “first woman painter of Utah“ to exhibit in the French Salon. While still in Europe she showed her work in the International French Exposition, along with fellow Utahn Cyrus Dallin, and became something of a local arts celebrity back home. Returning to Utah in 1902, she was immediately appointed by Governor Wells to the governing board of the Utah Art Institute, and became involved in many statewide and Salt Lake City cultural activities. Finding employment in the Salt Lake City school system as an instructor of art, Teasdel also set up a private studio within her residence on “C“ Street.

Biography courtesy Springville Museum of Art.

Newspaper Articles

"Pioneer parties from Pickleville to Paragonah." The Deseret News, July 1, 1997.


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South, Will. "The Great Salt Lake." Southwest Art, March, 1996.


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