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Wulf Barsch: Mormon Artist
Wulf Erich Barsch von Benedikt, known professionally as Wulf Barsch, is a painter and printmaker and retired professor of art.
Barsch was born in Reudnitz, Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic), on August 27, 1943. His father was a prisoner of war, drafted before Barsch was born, so he didn’t see his father until he was sixteen years old. Because of World War II, Barsch was exiled alone as a young boy.
He received his first art training in Hamburg and Hanover, Germany, as a student of Bauhaus Masters who were students of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. He became interested in the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. He also studied Egyptian and Islamic culture and history. He graduated from Werkkunstchule Hannover in 1968 with a degree equivalent to a master’s degree.
Barsch was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1966 and served as a missionary in Northern California. He then attended Brigham Young University and earned his master’s degree in printmaking in 1971 and a MFA in painting in 1972. He was offered a position on the BYU faculty in 1974 and taught for close to forty years.
Barsch’s first solo art exhibition was in 1962. In 1975, Barsch won the Prix de Rome. He won the Western States Foundation Printmaking Award in 1980. His work was included in the 38th Corcoran Biennial. Other awards include the Printmaking Award from the Western States Art Foundation, an award for Excellence in Art from the Snowbird Institute, and the directors Award from the Springville Museum of Art (in Springville, Utah). Book of Abraham (1984), Toward Thebes (1985), and Anduat (1982) which won the purchase award, are featured in the Springville Museum of Art permanent collection. His works are now found in more than thirty-five collections worldwide, including the State Senate in Hamburg, Germany, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He is recognized for some of the better modern religious artwork. In 2012, Barsch’s work was on display in the main gallery of the Springville Museum of Art. The exhibit, "Ex Corde Lux—A Retrospective of Wulf Barsch," represented his whole career and showed the evolution of Barsch as an artist.
Barsch traveled with his family through Boulder, Utah, in 1983. He felt a connection with the area and subsequently bought property there. He lives there as a farmer, artist, and craftsman. His son Aram Barsch von Benedikt also lives on the acreage with his family.