Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop

Sunday, September 4, 2016

John Hafen Sketches

John Hafen (the artist)

John Hafen, the artist was a distant cousin to Mt. Pleasant's own Jacob Hafen.  Both grew up Scherzingen,  Canton Switzerland which is located in the northern part of Switzerland next to Lake Constance or  Boden Sea (german).  This little community had only fifty families when the L.D.S. missionary arrived  in the 1860s.

The name "Hafen" in the German language is beautiful and very significant as it means harbor or haven. 



These sketches are found in "Hafen Family History" by LeRoy Hafen



The following comes from wikipedia:
John Hafen's parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Switzerland and along with many others, immigrated to the United States and then to the Utah territory to be with the Saints. The family first settled in the Payson area but later moved to Springville.

Hafen is known as a prominent Mormon Artist of the 19th century. 

In 1868 Hafen began attending the 20th Ward Academy in Salt Lake City, with Karl G. Maeser as one of his main teachers.

He studied painting under George Ottinger and Dan Weggeland. He was one of several people to found the Utah Art Association in 1881.

In 1890 the LDS church called 3 men to be Art Missionaries. Hafen, along with Lorus Pratt and John B. Fairbanks traveled to Paris for their mission. Hafen's wife, Thora Twede Hafen, and their children lived in Springville during the time Hafen was on his mission.

Hafen developed his technic for landscape painting during this time and it would become the focus for much of his following work.

Upon completion of their studies in France, the 3 missionaries returned to Utah and painted murals in the Salt Lake Temple.

Hafen and Cyrus Edwin Dallin donated works to Springville that became the genesis of the Springville Art Museum. 

Hafen developed the art department at the Brigham Young Academy, which became Brigham Young University. He had been recruited to the school by Benjamin Cluff specifically for this great task.

Hafen's Springville home was designed by Alberto O. Treganza.

Alice Merrill Hone, an early Utah art activist, declared Hafen, "Utah's greatest artist" He, of all the early Utah artists, best communicated the poetic essence of nature.


"The influence of Art is so powerful in shaping our lives for a higher appreciation of the creations of our God that we cannot afford to neglect an acquaintance with it. We should be as eager for its companionship as we are eager for chairs to sit upon or for food to sustain our lives, for it has as important a mission in shaping our character and in conducing to our happiness as anything that we term necessities."

-John Hafen

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"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we have come from."



~Alex Haley




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