Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Early Work by Arnold Friberg Discovered

Early Work by Arnold Friberg Discovered

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 05, 2008

Arnold Friberg — best known to most of us as the LDS artist of “The Prayer at Valley Forge” or the originator of the musclebound he-man Nephites in the familiar series of Book of Mormon illustrations — is still going strong at the age of 94. You can see his online gallery here and his biography here.

What you won’t see anywhere but here at Keepapitchinin is his newly rediscovered early artwork.

Drum roll please …

Okay, okay — I didn’t promise you his greatest work, just an early piece!

[“The Children’s Budget Box,” Juvenile Instructor, February 1926, 105]



  1. That is the most muscular chicken I ever saw. Looks like she could lay a dozen eggs at one sitting. I mean, that is clearly a Hen of God.

    On a more serious note, I haven’t seen many 11-year old’s drawings published in the Friend magazine these days that look anywhere near as good as this. Good on ya, Arnold. Great find, Ardis.

    Comment by jeans — July 5, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

  2. Ha! I’ve co-opted your phrase for this post’s slug, jeans! Yes, indeed, this is one sturdy Nephite chicken.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 5, 2008 @ 6:22 pm

  3. Ardis, I never know what I’m going to find when I come here. It’s been a gift every time. What a delightful find!

    (BTW, my computer cooperated nicely with your “drum roll please…” as it s l o w l y downloaded the picture.)

    Comment by Jami — July 5, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  4. I love it, Ardis – both the new slug and the actual picture. He was 11 when he drew this?!


    Comment by Ray — July 5, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  5. I was going to go with the muscle-bound chicken line, but I see jeans beat me to it. A fun drawing.

    I really enjoyed his painting of the resurrected Christ, which was commissioned by the Primary but only appeared once. The reason was that he showed a nipple, and apparently that offended sensibilities of the time. You can see a reproduction of this painting in that BYU Studies Roundtable of what Jesus looks like.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — July 5, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  6. Ardis,
    Always an intellectual treat! (Movie line, A Bug’s Life).

    Did you hear that there is a traveling exhibit of Friberg’s art? Right now it’s in Bountiful, UT, and people can send in ‘votes’ to try to get the exhibit to go to other cities. See more info here.

    Comment by m&m — July 6, 2008 @ 12:10 am

  7. I’m still cracking up about the department of the magazine titled “The Children’s Budget Box.”

    Comment by jeans — July 6, 2008 @ 5:43 am

  8. I’m clucking with pleasure over the reception of this!

    m&m, I hadn’t known about that exhibit. Thanks for the links.

    jeans, the title *is* funny by today’s total connection of “budget” with finances. There’s an older definition used a lot in journalism of the 19th and early 20th centuries, though, that I suppose they meant, even though it takes the funny out. A budget was a summary, a column of one-liner news coverage from various places around the state or the country, which fits very well with the hodge-podge nature of the contributions to this box.

    “I never know what I’m going to find when I come here. It’s been a gift every time.” — One of my all-time favorite comments, Jami!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 6, 2008 @ 6:33 am

  9. I want that on a T-shirt.

    I’m totatlly serious. Set up a Cafe Press shop or something. I’d but three or four of this on a T-shirt. (You have to keep the words too – not just the picture. Words AND text must be on said shirtS).

    Comment by Ivan Wolfe — July 6, 2008 @ 10:17 am

  10. That’s “I’d buy 3 0r 4 of this on a T-shirt”

    Comment by Ivan Wolfe — July 6, 2008 @ 10:19 am

  11. Chickens do appear in the Nephite record, anyway – 3 Ne 10:4-6.

    Ivan, doesn’t it have to be in the public domain for us to be able to put it on T-shirts? Ardis, is it in the public domain?

    Comment by jeans — July 6, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

  12. jeans, if it had been published in 1923 there would be no question of its being in the public domain — 1924, I’m not sure. Which means I know I’m fudging and keeping my fingers crossed by posting it here.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 6, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

  13. I’ve read elsewhere that Friberg contributed at least one other drawing to the JI (May 1926 issue).

    Comment by Justin — July 6, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

  14. Justin, I’ll look for that tomorrow. Thanks for the tip.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 6, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

  15. Justin, I found the drawing. Hmm.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 7, 2008 @ 9:39 am

  16. Thank you so much for posting this. I love Friberg’s work, he was famous for horses but I had no idea at 11 he could even tackle a hen. Here is one for you. If you live in SLC go to the International Center on 31st South and Redwood Rd. The huge wall mural done with many nationalities you will notice a horse. The mural was done by another artist and Friberg upon seeing the mural, told his friend, “you don’t know horses, let me draw that.” This was when he was about 85 years old.

    Comment by LDS Art Show — July 8, 2008 @ 7:49 am

  17. This picture reminds me of the comic strip Arnold Friberg drew for his high school newspaper called “Brainy Benzino.”

    Comment by LDS Art Collector — July 9, 2008 @ 8:35 am

  18. You are a definite Friberg aficionado, aren’t you, LDS AC? I’m glad to have found something to add to your enjoyment. Thanks for commenting.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 10, 2008 @ 8:25 am

  19. My dad had a print of the resurrected Christ painting that Kevin Barney referred to. As a child I loved looking at it. There is a little boy offering Christ a little bunny rabbit that always stood out to me. I loved it.

    Comment by julianna — October 6, 2009 @ 10:39 am

  20. His resurrected Christ painting, complete with nipple and bunny, is online here:

    Comment by Rob — October 12, 2009 @ 7:16 am

  21. And then there’s his OJ Simpson painting. He’s covered it all, eh?

    Comment by Rob — October 12, 2009 @ 7:18 am

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI