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Donald Beauregard

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Donald Beauregard

(Fillmore, UT, 1884 - 1914, Fillmore, UT)

Donald Beauregard was born 1884 in Fillmore, Utah, the son of a rancher. His family recognized his artistic talent early, and he had his first art lesson at the age of eleven by an eastern teacher who was visiting central Utah. Beauregard felt confined in Fillmore, and in 1900, he left town, wandering for a while and then ended up at Brigham Young University. He studied there until 1903. During this year, he left BYU and continued his education at the University of Utah, studying under Edwin Evans for three years and becoming his assistant in 1904. In 1906, Beauregard graduated from the University with high honors. Evans said, "He was a brilliant student who excelled in every phase of academic work." Beauregard demonstrated his versatility by winning honors in art, oration, and debate. In this same year of 1906, he saved his money until he could afford to travel to Europe, where he studied at the Academie Julian in Paris. While in Paris, Beauregard won many prizes for his work, including a first prize, with the work becoming part of the school's permanent collection. He financed his stay by writing special features and by drawing cartoons for newspapers. Beauregard made many discoveries about art while in Paris. At first, he followed Monet and the Impressionists and traveled and painted in Flanders. Later, he looked to Gauguin and Cezanne and began to incorporate cubist ideas into his expressionist landscapes. In 1908, he returned to Utah and became the Director of Art in the Ogden City School District. Before going to Europe, Beauregard had won first prize in the Utah Art Institute exhibit, and in 1909, after his return, he again won first prize. This second award helped him get a job as an illustrator for Western Monthly magazine and as correspondent for the Deseret News. Summer archaeology work led eventually to contact with Frank Springer, a wealthy New Mexico art patron, who became Beauregard's sponsor. Springer bought some of Beauregard's paintings and financed his second trip to Europe, where he spent the entire trip painting and sketching in Spain, France, and Germany. These paintings were sold successfully to Europeans, and after his return, to Americans. After Beauregard returned, Springer commissioned him to do six 10' x 12' murals representing the life of St. Francis of Assisi for the 1915 San Diego Panama Pacific Exposition. Beauregard took a scholarly approach to his work and researched and wrote essays on each phase. He was able to finish two of the panels (The Conversion of St. Francis and The Apotheosis of St. Francis) and the preliminary designs for the other four before he fell seriously ill and was forced by a lack of strength to abandon the project. Donald Beauregard died at his parents' home shortly before his thirtieth birthday. The majority of Donald Beauregard's works, including the Assisi murals, were donated by Frank Springer to the Museum of New Mexico. Living such a short life, Beauregard did not have time to fully develop his artistic talents, but he did develop a unique style of painting. His work incorporated both impressionism and cubism, and his thick, bold strokes and bright, rich colors have been called "muscular art" because of their sheer power and strong character. His painting Artist's Father Clearing Sagebrush is one of the best examples of his "muscular" style. The intense colors and powerful brush strokes he employed illustrate the back-breaking ranching work depicted. The viewer can almost feel Donald's father clutching the whip and cracking it down. Working from Dawn til Dusk, Near Fillmore demonstrates Beauregard's use of simplification of elements. The painting is "uncluttered, direct, and unambiguous, yet enigmatic." He used broad and fluid brush strokes and a tonalist approach: no element is more dominant than another by more than half. Like Artist's Father Clearing Sagebrush, this painting also conveys the stark reality of farm life.

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