Danquart Weggeland: Mormon Artist
Danquart Anthon Weggeland was an artist and art teacher and considered the Father of Utah Art. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Weggeland was born on March 31, 1827 in Christiansand, Norway. His father died when he was five years old. When he was nine, he was sent to the city of Stavanger to live with his oldest brother. A few years later his mother and youngest brother moved to Stavanger. He was artistic as a child and finally at the age of sixteen, he focused on painting portraits and studied in Christiana. Four years later he decided to go to Copenhagen, Denmark, on his uncle’s ship. There he embarked on an apprenticeship with a painter and decorator. He spent the next year studying at the Danish Royal Academy of Art. He returned to Norway and worked a little as a portrait painter among other odd jobs. He also took lessons in landscape painting and costume design. In 1851 and 1852 he went to four different Norwegian cities with friends. They wrote poetry while he painted national costumes.
Weggeland served a full-time mission in England from 1857 to 1861 then immigrated to America. While working to earn money to move west to the Utah Territory, he studied with two successful Eastern portrait painters, Daniel Huntington and George P. A. Healy, who taught him an elegant, smooth technique. On his way to Salt Lake City with the Henry W. Miller Company of pioneers, he sketched as he traveled. He later used these sketches to create paintings. He arrived in Utah in October 1862 and for several years he earned his living by painting scenery for the Salt Lake Theater.
He continued a close friendship with Christensen. Dimick B. Huntington commissioned them to do a series of paintings based on the Bible and Book of Mormon. Weggeland taught and influenced other artists. He encouraged John Hafen, Lorus Pratt, and others to train in Paris and thereby established a tradition of European-trained Utah artists. He was the founder of the Deseret Academy.
Weggeland also exhibited his art nationally and won gold and silver medals at the Chicago Columbian Exhibition of 1893.
In 1862, Weggeland married Andrine Mathea Holm and they had eight children but four of them died. She died in April 1904. He married Maritt Poulson in 1905. He died on June 2, 1918.