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Samuel Hans Jepperson
(Copenhagen, Denmark, 1855 - 1931, Provo, UT)
Samuel H. Jepperson began his prolific career as an artist at age 17, when he began painting houses. His employer gave him art lessons for a short time, and then he taught himself, mimicking the work of Utah Impressionist John Hafen and learning through a close association with German artist John Selck and New York painter George H. Taggart.
Jepperson was born on December 2, 1854, to Nils Jacob and Susanna Jepperson in Copenhagen, Denmark. They came to Utah in the Christian Christiansen Handcart Company after joining the LDS Church. His art focused on the history of Utah and the beauty of the outdoors.
Samuel's first love was music. He fashioned his first musical instrument, a violin, from a cigar box and a thin piece of wood. He organized Utah's first brass band, which he conducted for more than 35 years. A productive painter as well as a talented musician, he did over one thousand paintings of Utah's pioneer past and its landscape.
He lived his life close to the land. Lead poisoning forced him to quit his job as a house painter, so he removed himself to the outdoors, becoming a farmer. By his death in 1931, Jepperson had become one of the most respected farmers in Utah Valley, and his apple orchards were the model orchards in the area. He was known more amongst his neighbors for his prize-winning apples than for his art. Samuel did a lot of his paintings while relaxing from his work on the farm. His wife Minnie explained, "Samuel would often take his paints and easel with him into the field and set them up under a tree before commencing the day's work." The artist loved the outdoors, so the majority of his works are landscapes. He even painted using nature, making pigments from berries, roots, and leaves because tubes of coloring were unavailable in Provo at that time.
Samuel Jepperson died in 1931 from injuries sustained while working in his orchard. The artist B. F. Larsen eulogized him in the local newspaper,
I am astonished when I think of his understanding of nature and his ability to convey his thoughts and feelings with brush and paint. His formal schooling in art was limited. But his artistic soul found an adequate and beautiful way of expression, which we all understand and appreciate.
"Goodbye Sweet Day" (1919) is typical of his landscapes. The painting is probably a view near his own farm and was likely painted while he rested peacefully from his labors. The soft hues of the yellow sunlit sky and the warm green of the turf calm the soul. The painting expresses both Jepperson's endearing love for nature as well as the comfort he took from it.