George Smith Dibble: Mormon Artist
George Smith Dibble was a painter, teacher, and art critic. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Dibble was born on March 29, 1904, in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii. His first art lessons were through the mail from a Cleveland cartoonist and caricaturist. He attended LDS High School and Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah. After he earned his teaching certificate from the University of Utah in 1926, he taught elementary school for two years. He then returned to the University of Utah to continue his education.
Although he had taken many art classes, his art education dramatically changed when he moved to New York City and studied at the Art Student’s League. He said, “I found my style at the Art Student's League. School was drudgery until I got to New York and realized I had a point of view, that I could use it and get recognition for it.”
In 1930, he returned to Utah where he taught in the Murray School District. In 1935 he returned to New York and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University. At Columbia, Dibble was drawn to cubism. “I found that it was strengthening to organize the canvas in spatial terms, in terms of concept. The multiple viewing for example, understanding what’s inside the cup as well as outside, was fascinating.”
In 1940 he began teaching at Utah State University. He then moved to the University of Utah’s Stewart Training School where he trained teachers for seven years. In 1949, he became an associate professor at the U, and in 1950 he became a visiting professor for summer sessions at the College of Southern Utah (currently Southern Utah University). He also taught classes at Brigham Young University, San Jose State University, and Washington State University.
Dibble was an art critic for the Salt Lake Tribune for over thirty-eight years. He exhibited his work regionally, nationally, and internationally and was the recipient of numerous painting awards. He was a member of the first Modern Artists of Utah and his work was often opposed by artists who found the trend of modern and experimental art appalling.
Dibble authored the textbook Watercolor: Materials and Technique.
He and his wife, Cleone, were the parents of three sons. He died on June 1, 1992.