Painter of Western people and horses, born in Winnetka, Illinois in 1913 and living in Holiday, Utah since 1949. According to Friberg, “I fill up my pictures with man and animal, and with just enough landscape to identify the setting. My natural way is to put figures all the way to the edges, to fill the canvas. The challenge is to put a lot into a painting without letting it get junky.”
Raised in Phoenix, Friberg started cartooning at eight and was enrolled in an art instruction correspondence course at ten. He worked as a sign painter’s apprentice, “making a man’s living” while in high school, and then borrowed $500 in 1931 to study at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and later in New York City with Harvey Dunn. He was an illustrator in Chicago in 1937 when the Northwest Paper Company commissioned a series on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that lasted for 35 years. The job required painting horses, and Friberg recalls that “I learned them fast.”
“To me, the picturing of horses is next to worship. I am awed by how a hock joint is put together. I marvel, not only at the anatomy of animals, but also at the anatomy of trees, the whole thing, the design and engineering of it.” He served in the Army in World War II, remained in San Francisco as an illustrator, and in 1949 was hired by the University of Utah to found a commercial art department. In serving his Mormon Church, he became known as “The Painter of Scripture,” and was chief artist for the movie “The Ten Commandments.” He has been featured in Artists of the Rockies, spring 1977, and in Southwest Art, December 1981.
Resource: Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd’s Inc., Washington, D.C.