Frank Magleby: Mormon Artist
Francis R. “Frank” Magleby was an art professor and professional artist. He was born on March 22, 1928, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He spent most of his adolescence in Portland, Oregon, where his family had moved when he was six years old. He went to Brigham Young University on a football scholarship where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art. At the time when he was in graduate school, he became interested in mural work, particularly the murals being done in the newly built Los Angeles California Temple. His master’s project was a mural of Father Escalante coming into Utah Valley for Joaquin School.
He served in the U.S. military as an Army photographer in Italy. After his military service concluded in 1954, he attended the Art Students League in New York City and earned his doctorate degree from Columbia University.
In 1959, Magleby joined the faculty at BYU and taught for thirty-three years, retiring in 1991. He had the opportunity to be called to serve a mission in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a painter, the first art missionary to be called by the Temple Department. He also oversaw a group of fellow painters, who became known as Frank’s Boys, in creating murals for the reconstructed Nauvoo Temple—the first temple to have murals since the Los Angeles Temple. The group included Robert Marshall, James C. Christensen, Douglas Fryer, Gary Ernest Smith, and Chris Young. His work is found in many LDS churches and temples throughout the world. He has painted landscapes throughout Utah, New England, the Southwest, Europe, and South America.
Magleby and his wife, Middie (Mildred), were parents to five children. He died on December 17, 2013.