|Born||December 21, 1913|
Winnetka, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||July 1, 2010 (aged 96)|
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
|Known for||Oil painting|
|The Prayer at Valley Forge|
|Website||Friberg Fine Art|
Arnold Friberg (December 21, 1913 – July 1, 2010) was an American illustrator and painter noted for his religious and patriotic works. He is perhaps best known for his 1975 painting The Prayer at Valley Forge, a depiction of George Washington praying at Valley Forge. He is also well known for his 15 "pre-visualization" paintings for the Cecil B. DeMille film The Ten Commandments which were used to promote the film worldwide and for which he received an Academy Award nomination.
He has been admitted as a lifetime member of the Royal Society of Arts. He also did a series of paintings depicting scenes from the Book of Mormon for Adele Cannon Howells, the Primary President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Friberg was born to a Swedish father and a Norwegian mother. His family moved to Arizona when he was three years old, and he began drawing cartoons by the time he was seven. When he was seven Friberg's parents joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Friberg was baptized a member of the LDS Church at age eight.
While in high school, Friberg learned by meeting with the artists at The Arizona Republic, and earned money by creating signs for local businesses while being apprenticed to a local sign painter.
After graduating from high school, Friberg attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, working for various local printers doing commercial art while attending school and for several years afterward. This included calendar work for the Northwest Paper Company, for whom he created paintings of Mounties. Friberg has created more than 200 paintings depicting Mounties, and he is the only American made an honorary member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). In 1940, Friberg moved to New York City and studied with Norman Rockwell under the artist Harvey Dunn at the Grand Central School of Art.
With the outbreak of World War II Friberg left the Grand Central School of Art and joined the United States Army serving in the 86th Infantry Division. He had an offer of the rank of captain to draw recruitment posters for the United States Army Air Corps but chose instead to go to the front. He did, however, use his art skills in combat to draw maps.
Shortly after the end of the war and setting up shop in San Francisco, Friberg married Hedve Baxter. He made it big creating a series of paintings depicting Western scenes for a calendar company in 1948. Friberg moved to Utah in 1950 in order to begin teaching commercial art at the University of Utah. This was partly due to having become friends with Avard Fairbanks on a previous visit to Salt Lake City and also a result of doctors recommending that Hedve move to a drier climate for her health.
When the Fribergs arrived in Utah, Arnold was asked to commemorate a centennial event by recreating on canvas the first pioneer Sunday school taught by Richard Ballantyne. Delighted with the painting, Adele Cannon Howells, the Primary President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wanted to commission Friberg to create twelve paintings depicting the Book of Mormon for The Primary's published magazine called The Children's Friend. Financing for taking on such a project was an obstacle as there was not enough in the budget of the magazine to cover the cost of an artist, nor would the church supply any funding. Therefore, Howells funded the project herself by selling her own land.
At the time, reproductions and special editions were printed and sold, however no one knew these paintings would have so much impact that the Church would decide to put them in all copies of the Book of Mormon. They also caught the eye of Hollywood scouts searching for an artist for Cecil B. DeMille's epic motion picture The Ten Commandments. DeMille was shown some of Friberg's paintings by a publisher friend and hired him. Starting in 1953, Friberg spent three years in Hollywood as DeMille's chief artist and designer working on the previsualization paintings for The Ten Commandments. Friberg's paintings included costume design for the main characters, for which he won an Academy Award nomination.
In 1968, Friberg was commissioned by Chevrolet to create a series of paintings showing the greatest moments in college football, including The First Game, played in New Brunswick, New Jersey on November 6, 1869 between Rutgers College and the visiting College of New Jersey, for use in their 1969 advertising campaign. After extensive research on the location during winter and the equipment and gear used by Revolutionary War soldiers, Friberg created his 1975 painting The Prayer at Valley Forge. This depicts George Washington praying while the Continental Army winters at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania during 1777 and 1778. In 1977, he was commissioned to create a series of saloon paintings for the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Due to his previous work with the RCMP, Friberg was commissioned to paint the Prince of Wales and his horse Centennial (great-grandson of Man o' War). This led to an additional commission in 1990 to paint a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, also with Centennial. Both portraits were painted at Buckingham Palace.
Friberg died on July 1, 2010, while recovering from hip replacement surgery in a Salt Lake City care center.
Listed alphabetically by title.
|Abinadi Before the King Noah||1952-1955||Adele C. Howells||The Children's Friend|
|Alma baptizes in the waters of Mormon||1952-1955||Adele C. Howells||The Children's Friend|
|Ammon Defends the Flocks||1952-1955||Adele C. Howells||The Children's Friend|
|The Building of the City||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|The Risen Lord||1952-1955||Adele C. Howells||The Children's Friend|
|The Consecration of Joshua||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|Death of the Firstborn of Egypt||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|At the End of the Day||1994||Native American|
|The Finding of the Infant Moses||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|The Fight at Jethro's Well||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|The Finger of the Lord||1952-1955||Adele C. Howells||The Children's Friend|
|The First Game||1968||Chevrolet||1869 New Jersey vs. Rutgers football game, first college football game ever played|
|The First Passover||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|Following the Star|
|The Giving of the Law||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|The Great Exodus Begins||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|Her Hero||1989||Native American|
|Heritage of the Lord|
|His First Ride||Western|
|H.R.H. Prince Charles with his great horse "Centennial"||1978||The British Royal Family||Buckingham Palace|
|Into New Country||2006||Native American|
|Into The Valley||1995||Native American|
|Knute Rockne at Notre Dame||1968||Chevrolet||College football|
|Lehi and his people arrive in the Promised Land||1952-1955||Adele C. Howells||The Children's Friend|
|The Liahona||1952-1955||Adele C. Howells||The Children's Friend|
|The Light and the Law||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|The Light of Christ|
|Long Trail West||Western|
|Maintaining the Right||R.C.M.P|
|Mind If I Join You, Gentlemen?||Western|
|Moses Before Pharaoh||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|Mormon Bids Farewell to a Once Great Nation||1952-1955||Adele Cannon Howells||The Children's Friend|
|Moses and the Burning Bush||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|Moses and Sephora||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|Nephi Subdues His Rebellious Brothers||1952-1955||Adele Cannon Howells||The Children's Friend|
|The Night Christ Was Born|
|O.J. Simpson Breaks For Daylight||1968||Chevrolet||College football – 1967 USC vs. UCLA|
|Parley in the Forest||Native American, Western|
|The Parting of the Red Sea||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|The Passing Game||1968||Chevrolet||College football – Alabama vs. Tennessee, 1934|
|Peace Be Still|
|The Pillar of Fire||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|The Prayer at Valley Forge||1975||George Washington at Valley Forge|
|Queen Elizabeth II and "Centennial"||1990||The British Royal Family||Buckingham Palace|
|The Risen Lord|
|Samuel the Lamanite on the Wall||1952-1955||Adele Cannon Howells||The Children's Friend|
|Shepherds in the Field|
|Tales of the Force||R.C.M.P.|
|Title of Liberty||1952-1955||Adele Cannon Howells||The Children's Friend|
|Trail Ends at the Sea||R.C.M.P.|
|Trouble for Butterfield||Native American, Western|
|Two Thousand Young Warriors||1952-1955||Adele Cannon Howells||The Children's Friend|
|The Wagon Wedge||Western|
|Waters of Manitou||Native American|
|When the Land Was His||Native American|
|Winners and Losers||Western|
|Winter at Valley Forge||George Washington at Valley Forge|
|Word of the Lord||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|The Worship of the Golden Calf||1953||Cecil B. DeMille||Ten Commandments|
|Yielding the Right of Way||Western|
Although the contractual arrangement was between Sister Howells and Friberg only, a misconception persists that the Book of Mormon paintings were commissioned by Church priesthood leaders.