Francis “Frank” R. Magleby (1928-2013), a native of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and a talented oil and opaque-watercolor painter and art educator, has been a member (now emeritus) of the Brigham Young University art department faculty since 1959. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at BYU, and then went on for a doctorate of education at Columbia University in New York City. The director of the B.F. Larsen Gallery at BYU from 1962 to 1969, Magleby paints in a realistic style and specializes in landscape, seascape, cityscape, and figures in oil on gesso panels incorporating glazing and direct painting technique. Magleby’s art has been described as that of the naturalistic, eastern U.S. tradition of landscape painting using tight details and glazes.
He and his wife have served an 18-month mission for the LDS church, traveling throughout the world completing paintings for the Hong Kong; London and Preston, England; Orlando; San Diego; Boston; White Plains, New York; Nashville; St. Louis; and Mt. Timpanogos temples. More recently he had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream by painting murals in the Nauvoo Temple.
After graduating from BYU, Magleby went to the Art Students League in New York specifically to study mural painting. The Los Angeles temple murals had just been completed and he hoped to work on others, but they were the last the church commissioned for nearly 50 years, until Magleby was approached to do the murals for the Nauvoo Temple. To help him in this daunting task, he recruited three generations of BYU artists, including James C. Christensen, Robert Marshall, Doug Fryer, Gary Smith, and Chris Young. Taking over the LDS Motion Picture Studio, they divided the work early on with Marshall and Fryer painting the Creation Room, Young and Christensen in the Garden Room, and Magleby and Smith in the World Room. Setting aside professional egos, they were able to critique each other’s work and collaborate as equals. The artists found that the atmosphere they created provided a once-in-a-lifetime experience unified with the spirit of a labor of love.