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New book explores the brilliant colors of Utah artist Doug Snow

Art » “Final Light” adds another chapter in an effort to enshrine the influential Utah painter’s artistic legacy.



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By necessity, the book wasn’t intended as a comprehensive look at Snow’s career. Due to limited time and money, it only focused on Snow’s landscape paintings, McEntire says. "Final Light" doesn’t explore Snow’s illustrations, watercolors, drawings and etchings, or figurative and floral paintings made outside Utah locations.

The essays do, however, suggest the scope of Snow’s oversized personality. "He was bigger than breath," Stremmel says. "He was bigger than his stories."

At a glance

‘Final Light: The Life and Art of V. Douglas Snow’

The art book published by the University of Utah Press sells for $26.95 at local bookstores and online.

About Doug Snow

Born » In Salt Lake City in 1927

Early life » Sold his first painting, “View of the City at Dusk,” at age 14. Delivered it to the buyer on a bicycle. Studied theater at the University of Utah in 1943-45; also studied art with LaConte Stewart.

Inspiration » Snow’s mother, Loree Forsyth, was born in Loa, northwest of Teasdale. Her three children didn’t visit southern Utah until Doug was 18. “We fell in love with the place as soon as we saw it,” he said.

Art training » In 1946, Snow studied at New York’s American Art School and Columbia University; earned a master’s degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1950; awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Rome’s Academy of Fine Arts.

Academic career » Taught at Stanford University and Wayne State College before coming to the University of Utah in 1954. Chaired the art department from 1966-71. Retired in 1992.

Work » Included in collections at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Springville Museum of Art and the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University.

Public commissions » Snow was best known in Utah for his murals, including one hanging in the lobby of The Leonardo (commissioned when the building was the Salt Lake Library), at the Rio Grande Gallery (originally in the lobby of the U.’s Pioneer Theatre), and “Capitol Reef,” which hangs behind the Supreme Court bench in the Matheson Courts Building. The painting is covered with a gray curtain and is visible only when the court isn’t in session, which seems fitting in terms of the mural’s original title, “Conflict and Resolution.”

Died » Oct. 20, 2009

Viewing Doug Snow’s work

The Stremmel Gallery in Reno has 26 works by Doug Snow for sale. The gallery has sold 140 of his paintings over the past three decades.

View » www.stremmelgallery.com/artists/v-douglas-snow.

Value » After Snow’s death in 2009, the value of his works has risen. For example, in 1995 a 48-by-60-inch painting by the Utah artist sold for $5,500 at the gallery. Now that same painting is priced at $11,250. In 1990, a 43-by-60-inch painting sold for $6,700. Now the artwork is valued at $11,175.

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In addition, Snow photographed his works with his own camera, without the professional quality of studio lights, and he wasn’t particularly organized. For example, he often used the same title over the span of multiple decades for different paintings, which makes cataloguing his work difficult.

Yet for an art book with more than 80 color reproductions, the book’s reasonable price — $26.95 — sets it apart. That required raising more than $50,000 to cover the entire legacy project, which included the exhibitions, an art scholarship and a subsidy for the book’s reproductions, according to McEntire.

That was important to Susan Snow, who wanted the book to be affordable to aspiring artists and art students. "Painting is just using pig bristle attached to a stick of some kind to apply pigment to a canvas." That’s what Snow would tell anyone who was interested in painting, she recalls.

"He wanted young aspiring painters to know that it’s OK to want to be an artist," Susan Snow says. "If you feel driven to be an artist, it’s not only OK, it’s doable. You can decide when you’re 5 years old — like Doug did — and you will be able to survive and have a family and be comfortable. He wanted people to know you can follow your bliss."

For Jordan, the book will keep Snow’s work alive for her and future generations of artists. "I don’t own a piece of Doug’s work, so I love the book because I get to have his work in my home."

ellenf@sltrib.com

facebook.com/ellen.weist




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