Joseph Paul Vorst: A Retrospective
Opening November 9, 2017
Joseph Paul Vorst (1897–1947) was one of the most culturally significant Latter-day Saint artists of his time. His work was exhibited or collected by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and even the White House. And yet he has been largely forgotten in Mormon art canons. Many Latter-day Saints are familiar with the work of Mahonri Young, LeConte Stewart, and Minerva Teichert—contemporary artists of his era. But who was Joseph Paul Vorst, and why has his name faded into obscurity among his fellow Latter-day Saints?
Born in Essen, Germany, Vorst converted to the Church in 1924 and immigrated to the United States in 1930. The span of Vorst’s works from 1919 to 1940 covers two continents, two world wars, the Great Depression, and many natural disasters. He was a storyteller whose depictions of the downtrodden are expressions of Christian compassion. This exhibition, Joseph Paul Vorst: A Retrospective, aims to reintroduce his artwork to Mormon audiences today.